Private cloud adoption by enterprises is on the rise. Businesses in a variety of industries are building their own clouds after concluding that a private cloud meets their IT and business needs better than either a public cloud or traditional IT infrastructure.
Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud
Unlike a public cloud that sells its services to multiple customers on the open market, a private cloud is used exclusively by a single organization. A private cloud is typically deployed on the premises of the organization that's using the cloud, although this is not necessarily the case. A private cloud can also be hosted and maintained by a managed hosting provider for the exclusive use of a single client organization. But most often, the term "private cloud" refers to a cloud deployed on-premise by the organization that uses the cloud.
Enterprises that build a private cloud rather than using public cloud services are often motivated by concerns about data security in cloud computing, and especially by doubts about whether their sensitive corporate data would be sufficiently secure in public cloud storage. Along with providing an enterprise greater confidence that its data will remain confidential, a private cloud also affords a greater degree of operational control and transparency than do public cloud services.
The confidentiality, control, and transparency of a private cloud come at a cost, since it's considerably more expensive to build and operate a private cloud than to use a public cloud. For this reason and also because of the near-limitless scalability of public clouds, some enterprises opt for a hybrid cloud architecture in which a private cloud is used for some purposes and public cloud services are used for others.
Private Cloud vs. Traditional IT Infrastructure
If it's on-premise and used by just one organization, what makes it a cloud? What does cloud mean in this context?
A cloud computing definition that distinguishes a "cloud" from traditional IT infrastructure has these key elements:
- Virtualization. Virtualization of physical compute and storage resources into a common pool of virtual resources that can be rapidly provisioned and allocated on demand is an essential enabler of cloud computing
- Multi-tenancy with metering. Like a public cloud, a private cloud has multiple "customers"—but in the private cloud context, the customers are different groups within the same organization (different departments, project teams, branch offices, and so on). Cloud infrastructure includes the ability to precisely track each customer's service usage so that it can be charged back to them, or at least reported to them.
- Self-service. In a key departure from traditional IT infrastructure, a private cloud empowers business users to initialize an IT service and to increase or decrease their service usage level without the involvement of IT staff. Typically this takes the form of a self-service web portal, with a high degree of service automation taking place behind the scenes.
Private Cloud Optimization
For the typical enterprise with a geographically dispersed workforce, a critical part of private cloud performance is the delivery of enterprise cloud services over a WAN and/or the public internet. Akamai Cloud Networking Solutions help enterprises improve the availability, performance, and security of cloud application delivery over WANs and the internet. The result is that organizations that use Akamai's services experience higher rates of user adoption of cloud services, enhanced user productivity, and a better overall return on private cloud investment.
Learn more about how Akamai can accelerate and secure the delivery of private cloud services from data center to end users.