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Private Cloud vs Public Cloud – What you Need to Know

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Contrary to what people believe, the cloud is made up of computer servers but they are hosted in a data centre, usually managed by a third party.

There are currently two types of cloud, public such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure and Private. A private cloud is when there are physical servers in a data centre that exist solely for the use of a single company. A public cloud, on the other hand, is where many computers store data and virtual machines (VM) on Amazon and Microsoft infrastructure, this infrastructure is shared among many companies.

There has been a rise in the number of enterprises opting to use the private cloud, according to RightScale 31% of enterprises run over 1,000 VMs in the private cloud, compared to 22% last year. This is understandable, given the number of benefits associated with having your own private cloud, such as:

1. Predictable pricing

All public cloud providers charge on usage, they charge for incoming and outgoing data as well as for each VM or service used. As your organisation grows so does the cost related to this. Your IT department may need to temporarily provision new virtual machines or services and in a public cloud, this will cost extra and may need to be approved by management slowing down the process even further.

With a private cloud, the infrastructure will be there, so there will be no extra cost for each service or VM provisioned as the hardware is solely for your use.

2. Performance

On a public cloud, you share CPU’s, disks and the network with many other companies. The performance on your servers can be degraded if another company that is sharing your hardware is doing something intensive. This slowdown is nearly impossible for you to diagnose as you have absolutely no visibility of the hardware or who is doing what on it.

With a private cloud, you know exactly what is using the hardware as it is directly under your control. If there is a performance issue you have complete visibility.

3. Portability

The cloud, for the time being, is a completely unregulated market. Public cloud providers have no obligation to make your life easier if for whatever reason you decide to move to a competitor.

With a mobile phone, if the price for the service goes up or you just feel like a change or another mobile phone provider comes out with a new product they have to help you move away from them – cloud providers will not help you to move away from them to someone else. If a company has several terabytes of data, how can this be accomplished anyway?

On a private cloud, if you decide to move to another data centre, it is just a matter of walking in and picking up your hardware and moving it elsewhere – albeit not being quite as simple as it sounds.

Private clouds were traditionally used by large organisations that possess the resource and expertise in-house to manage the hardware and diagnose any issues. Many people still believe that having a private cloud means you are responsible for the hardware almost as if it was still physically on-premise.

This does not have to be the case anymore as many data centres will provide the option to lease dedicated hardware from them, meaning they are responsible for purchasing, building and installing the hardware replacing any failed discs then leave you to install whatever operating systems, VM’s and software you require.

This means you get to experience the best of both worlds – someone takes care of the hardware but the costs don’t begin to creep up in the way the public cloud does.

Public cloud has its benefits in that it is easy to use, scalable and like any other managed service there is an element of security knowing that everything is being taken care of. However, this does come at a cost.

An important thing to note is that whatever type of cloud you are using, you should backup your data. There is a perception that if companies are using a public cloud then their data is backed up, it’s not. It is more likely to be replicated at another site in case of disaster, but if you delete or change this data it will be instantly replicated to that site too. This isn’t a backup and you cannot get old versions of files back.

The same is true of a private cloud. The hardware is in a secure data centre with the latest and greatest in fire and security systems, but if you delete some data, you need to have a backup in place to ensure this data isn’t lost for good.

As one of the UK’s leading backup solution provider, Backup Systems have years of experience in designing backup services for our clients regardless of wither they are using a private cloud, a public cloud or a hybrid environment.

Download our guide to understand how we could work together to provide you with the security and peace of mind you need regardless of your environment.

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