What You Need to Know About Private Cloud Hosting
Let’s be square for a moment: we are living through unsettling and disruptive times. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting every walk of life, one of the questions many business owners have on their minds is that of business continuity.
It’s a very simple question: with employees working from home and consumers not being able to shop at non-essential stores in person, will the foundational services of my business survive and continue to flourish given the state of the global pandemic.
It is from this lens that we want to speak a little about the importance of private cloud hosting. If you are new to the space and need some guidance private cloud hosting, this piece will cover the following:
- What is Private Cloud Hosting?
- What are its benefits and what are its advantages
- When looking into private cloud hosting as a business solution, what makes your business a possible good candidate for its utilization?
- What are the types of private cloud hosting and who are the players in the space?
As always, whatever your need, QuoteColo is here to help you build a custom private cloud hosting environment at whatever budget you feel comfortable with. So by all means, use the contact form link here or at the top right of this page to let us help you meet your business hosting needs.
Now, with that sales speak out of the way, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of private cloud hosting.
What is Private Cloud Hosting?
Let’s think about it in terms anyone can understand.
Apple picking season in the United States is between July and September. Every year people from across the country head to orchards to pick apples, drink cider, and enjoy some apple cider doughnuts.
Now, when you and your family or friends head to that orchard, you pay a ticket to pick apples yet you pick those apples alongside other members of your community.
The resources (apples) are for community (shared) picking/consumption. This is the public cloud.
But what if, instead of heading to the orchard every year, you decided to plant a few apple trees in your backyard in the fall? You would have to wait a few years to see the results, but once those trees matured, you would have your own apples to pick, not having to contend with members of your community for the best Cortlands or Honeycrisps.
This, in fruit picking terms, is the private cloud.
It is, in bare minimum terms, computing resources utilized exclusively by one business or organization. In this computing resource set up:
- All services and infrastructure are fully and wholly kept and managed on a private computing network
- All hardware and software within that private cloud hosting instance are also fully and wholly dedicated to your company and your company alone
This means since all infrastructure, hardware, and software are dedicated to your organization alone, one of the benefits of the private cloud scenario is you have the ability to customize your resources to meet the specific needs and demands of your company.
What are the benefits and advantages of Private Cloud Hosting?
To name three:
● Flexibility of Instance Set Up:
As mentioned previously, if you invest in a private cloud for your organization, you are investing in your ability to customize the network, hardware, and software.
- Customization of hardware could mean determining how many fans you need, the level of fault-tolerant storage you want, the amount of ECC (error-correcting) RAM your network needs, or how you want to virtualize your cloud (maybe you want to run a bare-metal hypervisor as opposed to a type-2 hypervisor operating VMWare Fusion.
- Customization of security could mean determining the level of data classification you need in your instance between zones of your network to allow only specific employees with classification keys access or it could mean implementing a central and complete logging solution to monitor all events across your network.
- Customization of software typically means the business in question holds the right to choose what type of software is allowed to run within their network and what type of software is not. If you match this with data classification and security protocols, customization of software in a private cloud allows the network owner to apply access credentials to certain pieces of virtualized software that only key team members have access to.
● Higher Level of Security:
One of the main reasons governments and companies that deal in highly sensitive material use a private cloud set up is because they are the only ones who have access to it. Just think about our apple picking scenario for a moment. If your private set up was public, anyone from the public could pick apples (resources) off of the same tree.
This approach leaves your data more open to corruption, error, or breaches by the very nature that more hands have potential access to the fruit you control.
Utilizing a private setup eliminates this because the very foundation and infrastructure of your instance can not be seen by the public. It can only be accessed by your organization. This inherently means you maintain a higher level of security than if you had your servers in a public instance accessible to the entire community.
● High Scalability:
Without getting too into the weeds, to talk about cloud scalability we need to define what scalability actually means. While it is true that it means to grow or shrink as per business need, specific types of scaling are defined as:
- Vertical: to scale up. This means you can grow or shrink your cloud by adding additional resources (hardware, software, infrastructure)
- Horizontal: to scale out. This means provisioning additional network services connecting them to ensure they work together as a single working compute system.
- Diagonal: to scale up and out. This is a combination of vertical and horizontal where you can grow vertically until your network hits a maximum point than facilitating the need to clone a server allowing you to add more resources within your private cloud working as a single system.
So how does this apply to a private cloud instance? The answer is simple: because you operate your own private instance, you have the ability to scale vertically, horizontally, and/or diagonally. The choice is fully yours dependent on your need and your financial ability.
Now that you know what the private cloud is and it’s benefits, we want to chat a little about how you know if your business is a good candidate to utilize it. As always, we are happy to work with you to make that determination and to ensure your private instance is set up to meet your business needs.
Is Your Business a Good Candidate for Private Cloud Hosting?
It’s a great question we can approach by a few different avenues:
- The type of data your organization deals with
- The type of workload your organization deals with
- The type and length of storage and resources your organization needs
What Type of Data Is Suited Best to the Private Cloud?
If your organization deals in sensitive or proprietary data that needs to be trafficked in a very closed and sensitive manner, the private cloud is a good solution for you.
As such, if you are a healthcare organization like a hospital that deals in patient data, or a financial institution like an investment firm that deals in client monetary data, or a technology development firm that holds military contracts, utilizing a private cloud instance might not only be a good idea but it might be mandatory as governed by specific legal regulations like HIPAA.
What Type of Workload is Suited Best to the Private Cloud?
If you think about the computing needs of a healthcare system, say a large scale hospital network in New York City, Boson, Chicago, or Los Angeles a few things ring true:
- That system most likely will have stringent compliance requirements both in terms of data and infrastructure security
- That system, due to the amount of patient data being processed daily, will require a system that has high-performance needs able to grow elastically as needed
- Demand on the service is consistent
- Applications used on premise, like electronic health records which track each patients core vitals and disease state symptoms, are mandatory and unique per hospital, can be classified as a homegrown or somewhat unique application
In this case, a private cloud answers all needs for the specific reason that the workload of a large scale healthcare system demands:
- Stringent security protocols
- Ability to scale
- Consistent demand
- Use of unique to premise software systems
As such, if your organization has these requirements, the private cloud might be a great fit. We are happy to help see if it is with the form below.
How Do The Resources and Length of Storage My Organization Needs Impact Our Compute Needs?
If you think of what the cloud is vs. what it is not, the following should come to mind:
What shouldn’t come to mind is long-term storage, or ever increasing amounts of extensive data storage needs. There is a definitive reason why services like collocation and on-premise data center hosting exist.
Now at this point, you might be asking yourself: the private cloud is great for an organization that deals in sensitive information, has high security compliance needs, and needs high amounts of elasticity yet why would I choose a private option over the public or hybrid cloud computing instance?
It’s a great question. Let’s get into it.
Private vs. Public. Vs. Hybrid: Which Model is Right for My Organization?
As already stated, we are happy to help you determine what your cloud hosting needs are yet if you are also interested in a public or hybrid option, we are also happy to shed some light on the what, why, and when of those compute set ups.
The Public Cloud: What, Why, When
“The public cloud is defined as computing services offered by third-party providers over the public Internet, making them available to anyone who wants to use or purchase them. They may be free or sold on-demand, allowing customers to pay only per usage for the CPU cycles, storage, or bandwidth they consume.”
Remember our initial analogy about the apple picking? Good.
The public cloud is the giant Macintosh apple tree everyone wants to pick from. It has a ton of apples (resources) which anyone can pick from. More to the point, because everyone is picking from the same tree and using the same resources, the risk associated with picking from that tree comes in the form of over picking (draining resources) or tree rot (security flaws) killing the pick. The upside of the public cloud is that it is highly affordable, highly customizable, and generally deployed at a seconds notice.
The Macintosh tree is the public cloud. Highly accessible resources available for public utilization at a very fair cost however the risks of using the public instance, depending on your organization needs, can outweigh the benefits.
Utilize the public cloud when you need a highly scalable compute resource that can prop up websites and applications without having the need for data compliance or properly tested security protocols.
Everyone from Amazon, to RackSpace, to Linode, to DigitalOcean, offer some form of the public cloud.
The Hybrid Cloud: What, Why, When
From the good folks at Red Hat:
“Hybrid cloud is an IT architecture that incorporates some degree of workload portability, orchestration, and management across 2 or more environments. Depending on whom you ask, those environments may need to include:
- At least 1 private cloud and at least 1 public cloud
- 2 or more private clouds
- 2 or more public clouds
- A bare-metal or virtual environment connected to at least 1 cloud—public or private”
In short, the hybrid cloud is as it sounds. It is a mix of two differing cloud instances for the purpose of differing IT needs. Yet, at bare minimum, a modern hybrid instance carries the purpose of (again, via the good folks at Red Hat):
- Connecting multiple computers through a network.
- Consolidating IT resources.
- Scaling out and quickly provisioning new resources.
- Ability to move workloads between environments.
- Incorporating a single, unified management tool.
- Orchestrating processes with the help of automation
The hybrid cloud gives an organization security and flexibility, speed and long term scale.
It offers organizations the ability to access private infrastructure, streamlining day-to-day functionalities like migrating environments with ease.
It enables very solid abilities like cloud bursting to ensure companies can reach peak demand in the public environment and scaling back to continue business as normal in the private environment.
As mentioned, the hybrid set up is an excellent option giving the organization a best of both worlds set up.
You should think about using a hybrid model when your IT needs demand the best of both worlds, that is security and scale + quick and affordable.
A good organization for a hybrid cloud model would be one that follows the following criteria:
- Internally, deals with sensitive data on a daily basis which requires high level of stringent security firewalls and protocols
- Internally, has the need to ensure all communications regarding sensitive data are kept secure
- Internally, has the need to scale long term and consistent demand IT resources
- Externally, has the need maintain public facing website trafficking in less sensitive and more public facing data
- Externally, has the need to maintain applications, solutions, and SAAS based instances anyone in the public can access
- Externally, has the need to grow/shrink hosting demands at a near instant pace due to changing market conditions
This stated, a great question comes to mind: if the public cloud offers affordable quick solutions, the private cloud offers more powerful and secure behind firewall services, and the hybrid model offers the best of both worlds, what compute environment is right for my organization as it sounds like the hybrid model is the best option?
The truth is it really comes down to a question of costs, ability to manage multiple environments, and the ability to ensure all protocols across environments play well together.
Sure, a hybrid model offers the best services from each instance yet it also demands you have a keen understanding of how all data across multiple cloud environments traffic and move from secure to unsecure. It also demands that you maintain a highly trained IT department who understands how to manage disparate systems under one roof all running across multiple machines both onsite and offsite.
The hybrid model, while excellent at many things, does not come without concern to the less well trained.
So now that you have a good frame of reference to understand public vs. private vs. hybrid, let’s do a little of the pros and cons of cloud providers.
Cloud Providers: Pros and Cons
The truth is for managed private cloud hosts and hosting, your business has many options. Yet as a small to medium sized business, while these options might seem appealing based on price alone, looks aren’t always as they seem.
The pros of Amazon AWS for businesses of all sizes are ease of use, a large variety of options and services held under the Amazon AWS product umbrella, high amounts of flexibility in builds based on price point, and if wanted, managed IT solutions are available for the user.
- Ease of Use: Like all of Amazon’s services, the AWS offering is built to allow anyone, of any skill level, to be able to spin up new servers in a matter of minutes. The user interface of AWS is very easy to use and offers clear product differentiation and options when building a public, private, or hybrid offering. It is still recommended that an IT professional sets up your AWS instance, yet if your organization does not have one, the platform aims to offer simplicity through design.
- Service Options: Want to build a private cloud or a public cloud or a hybrid instance? AWS offers it. Need to build IAAS, or PAAS, or SAAS solutions? AWS offers it. Need near unlimited amounts of server elasticity and scale? AWS offers it. To date, Amazon AWS offers upwards of 75 various services a customer can mix and match to suit their needs.
- Flexibility by Price Point: As stated, because Amazon AWS is such a large service, their offerings run from the very affordable (dollars for a running server per month) to the much less affordable (complex hybrid offerings with fill IT management and instant scale). However deep your pockets are, AWS has a price point for your business.
- Managed IT Solutions: Let’s say your organization doesn’t have a dedicated IT department to manage your computing needs or you simply don’t want any part of managing your instance? Well, Amazon AWS will provide your organization full managed IT solutions, for a price.
The cons of Amazon AWS really come down to service options, billing, and imposed limits within Amazon EC2.
- Service Options: While we mentioned one of the benefits of Amazon AWS is the amount of product offerings they have, this is also a downfall for the small to medium sized business with a lack of clear understanding in their need. The sheer amount of options AWS holds can prove confusing for the small to medium organization who doesn’t want to deal with IT, rather, they want someone to help set this up based on their needs. This is where QuoteColo can help.
- Billing: For the small to medium business owner or the non-IT educated employee, billing for AWS can be damn near impossible to understand. Instead of billing as a end of month product, your bills can come in the form of cents on the dollar for server up time making your bill more of a math problem than a clear and decisive “this is what you owe”.
- Amazon EC2 Limits: As a new customer, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud can and often does limit the amount of resources available per region along with limiting the sheer amount of server utilization per new user. This is mostly due to security issues to ensure a new “non-known” user doesn’t infect the system with corruption, viruses, or malicious intent. The reason behind the limitation is good however if you are a small to medium sized business that is seeing rapid expansion, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud might not be great for you as a new customer.
Sometimes when we think about Microsoft Azure, we think about it in terms of the anti-Amazon AWS. We say this because whereas both services offer a fair amount of service options, the Microsoft platform makes them a bit easier to understand. However, at the same time, the Azure platform requires that you have IT experience to manage your set up and that experience needs to be nearing expertise level.
- High Scalability: Much like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure is built on high scalability. The platform is built to scale “infrastructure you need to run your apps.” It offers the customer the ability to “tap into compute capacity in the cloud and scale on demand,” while also being able to “containerize your applications, deploy Windows and Linux virtual machines (VMs), and take advantage of flexible options for migrating VMs to Azure.”
- Data Security: Another key selling point of Azure is built in data-security. While Amazon AWS also offers data security within their network, the Azure cloud solution sells hard on a “full-fledged identity solution, so you gain managed end-point protection.” As noted within the Azure documentation:
- Cost Effective: Much like AWS, Azure offers pay as you go solutions to businesses of all sizes and as a benefit to new customers, the platform does not limit (to the same extent as AWS does) the amount of resource and server capacity a new customer can utilize. This is certainly a strength for small and medium businesses looking to expand at great pace.
- Requires Expertise to Use: There is no getting around this. While the Azure platform is accessible, scalable, and secure, the platform requires expertise knowledge of IT solutions to run properly. This especially applies to organizations with multiple cloud instances and it is certainly applicable to organizations utilizing private and public hybrid setups.
- Requires Management: This could be said about any major cloud computing solution, yet Azure demands management of solutions. Be it an in-house organization IT team or full management by the Azure team, for the solution to run properly it needs to be maintained and managed. Everything from data security, to new provisioning, and server monitoring requires
So now the million dollar question: why are we writing this? What is QuoteColo able to provide that a big box cloud provider can’t or won’t? Why come to QuoteColo for your private cloud hosting needs over RackSpace, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or the Linodes of the world?
The answer is simple: QuoteColo maintains cloud hosting options which compete directly with the Hyper Scale cloud offerings as well as services which complement the Hyper Scale cloud offerings.
Competition with Hyper Scale Big Box Clouds with Personal Business Needs
As mentioned, QuoteColo competes directly with the AWS, Azure, Google, etc. platforms of the world. Our public and private cloud offerings are custom tailored to meet your organizational needs.
While the big box players of the world stress cost savings, what we can provide your organization is:
- Better overall support
- Easier migrations
- Managed services
- Unique organizational cloud setups
Unlike some of the big box providers who in many cases compete with their own Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS) options and their own private cloud options, we don’t.
More to the point, QuoteColo ensures our hosting options compliment the large Hyper Scale cloud players as well. We offer:
- Hybrid and private clouds
- Compliance and legacy systems
- Connections to Hyper Scale Clouds while saving on egress bandwidth feeds
- Full migration services, daily management, and system audits
Until we chat, as always remember, whatever your need, QuoteColo is here to help you build a custom private cloud hosting environment at whatever budget you feel comfortable with.
So by all means, use the contact form link here or at the top right of this page to let us help you meet your business hosting needs.