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Private cloud can serve as a steppingstone to long-term IT resiliency and consistent performance. This makes the technology worthy of serious consideration in the enterprise -- even in those that already run applications in the public cloud.
In this article, we discuss some key benefits of private cloud, including its ability to reduce operational burdens and increase agility for IT teams.
General private cloud benefits and challenges
According to IDC, spending on private cloud infrastructure grew 8.2% year over year to $6.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, with overall cloud market spend also trending upward.
As they're dedicated to a single organization, private clouds offer the benefits of multi-tenant public clouds -- without the security concerns. A private cloud ensures secure end user access across an organization. These protections boost confidence in the security of remote work environments. Private cloud computing and storage also offer better data protections due to secure network links, which ensure greater control and privacy. IT organizations with strict regulatory requirements often turn to private cloud to gain the overall benefits of cloud computing and ensure compliance.
Private cloud also offers greater scalability and better resource utilization compared to traditional on-premises environments, and enables IT teams to more easily support multiple business units. For example, IT can design its private cloud to meet the specific needs of individual teams through improved resource distribution and high availability.
On-premises private cloud provides IT unfettered access to physical hardware to maintain control of the entire environment. Teams can allocate resources, such as storage and bandwidth, quickly to optimize use. Alternatively, companies can lease private cloud platforms, located off premises within colocated environments, where resources are not shared, but dedicated to a single customer. Like on-premises private clouds, colocated private cloud environments ease the transition to hybrid cloud -- and still enable the IT organization to control resource cost.
On-premises private cloud deployments can also pose challenges. For example, IT organizations must devote sufficient IT resources to own and maintain extra hardware and software stacks for fast disaster recovery. Automation technology also requires significant capital investments. Moreover, IT teams must be prepared to re-create applications when cloud failures or outages occur.
Business and IT leaders can calculate the total cost of private cloud ownership over the projected life of deployment, as well as create long-term financial forecasts, to ensure the most cost-effective adoption.
Private cloud facilitates IT ops agility
A number of private cloud benefits apply specifically to IT operations.
For example, private cloud presents several features that reduce management burdens on IT staff. Self-service is one example; with private cloud, users can select and access the resources they need quickly, while IT maintains control over the platform and limits access to sensitive data. Administrators can use automation to not only eliminate manual configuration tasks, but also reduce the overhead of individual resource requests.
Virtualization enables IT organizations to pool resources via their private cloud deployments and increase compute and storage efficiency. Through virtualization, multiple applications and OSes can operate on the same machine: Rather than maintain multiple physical servers with 10% CPU utilization, organizations can decrease the amount of hardware they host and distribute resources more efficiently. And IT can spin up and tear down servers in a matter of minutes, in contrast to the capital investment, time and commitment required to deploy physical servers.
In terms of business continuity, virtual servers combined with storage area networks improve protections against failures. For example, a private cloud environment that includes a backup server provides both redundancy and immediate failover to improve recovery times, should a node fail. And IT teams can perform system maintenance without incurring downtime.
Ultimately, private cloud environments will continue to evolve to meet new demands as businesses deploy highly distributed applications and adopt innovative technologies, including AI, machine learning and the internet of things.