Outsourced virtual private cloud services are a popular topic these days. With all of the issues and outages from well know public cloud providers like Amazon and RackSpace, more and more businesses are evaluating the costs and advantages of using a hosted virtual private cloud service. To start, what is a virtual private cloud (aka just a “private cloud”)? A Private Cloud is a dedicated hosted infrastructure of servers and related hardware/software that resides behind a corporate firewall. In this article, we will examine the advantages of using a virtual private cloud versus a public cloud solution.
1) Reliability – With a public cloud service, clients share computer resources. Having hundreds or even thousands of clients sharing the same “cloud hardware” has inherent risks. On December 24, 2012, Amazon suffered a service outage in its Virginia Cloud data center which impacted major websites like NetFlix and Heroku. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon blamed the outage on an external developer “who accidentally deleted some key data …” According to Amazon, this developer had access to the staging development environment. Virtual private clouds offer dedicated hardware and geographic load balancing in a “single tenant” environment which improves reliability and uptime. Sure, you will pay more for a hosted private cloud but can your company afford the downtime?
2) Security and Compliance – Since virtual private clouds are dedicated to a single client environment, the hardware, software and network gear can be engineered and customized to a greater level of security compared to a public cloud. Qualified private cloud providers can ensure maximum uptime and protection against unauthorized use, hacking and other types of security threats. With this higher level of security and dedicated hardware, private cloud providers can offer and meet several important industry targets like PCI, Sarbanes Oxley and HIPPA compliance. As an example, PCI compliance requires that you inspect your service provider’s data center infrastructure. Most public cloud providers will not allow a physical visit to your data center of choice. In some cases, PCI compliance can be accomplished on a public cloud but it is quite costly and very time consuming. Check out this interesting link on how to become PCI compliant using a public cloud. In sum, virtual private clouds are preferred by organizations that require a higher level of security and regulatory compliance standards required by their industry and/or end clients.
3) Customization – Private clouds allow for more flexibility in terms of both hardware, software, security and network performance. Qualified private cloud providers offer custom configurations to meet specific client requirements. Many clients have approached us looking for a private cloud to extend and/or enhance their existing colocation infrastructure. If a colocated server is running a SQL database or a specific application, those server(s) can be implemented right along with your private cloud infrastructure. This type of “hybrid cloud” can not be achieved using a public cloud service. Public clouds by nature are meant to be highly standardized and used by a broad range of clients to perform a broad range of tasks and, thus, lack customization.
These are just a few of the reasons why virtual private clouds are starting to gain popularity in comparison to public clouds. If uptime, security and customization are important to your firm, make sure you evaluate both local and national private cloud providers in your area. Check out our free whitepaper on the top ten tips to finding the best cloud provider.