Private IaaS can be a very convenient approach to blending the best of private clouds with the best of public clouds. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about it.
Private IaaS is when a cloud service provider (CSP) makes its infrastructure exclusively available to a sole client (or tenant). This means that, in practical terms, private IaaS sits between a fully private cloud and a fully public cloud.
With a fully private cloud, a company owns the underlying infrastructure. The company may use colocation to host it and a managed service provider to take care of it. These vendors are, however, working totally to the company’s instructions.
With a fully public cloud, the CSP owns the entire infrastructure. Clients (tenants), simply buy the resources they need as they need them. Once the clients are finished using the resources, they can simply turn them off and stop paying for them.
Here is a quick guide to the practical differences between private IaaS and both a private cloud and a public cloud. Private IaaS can be fitted into the various sub-versions of these. For example, it can be used in hybrid IT, a hybrid cloud, and a multicloud.
Getting set up with private IaaS essentially means negotiating a contract with a vendor. How long this will take is likely to depend on each client’s exact requirements. In theory, it could potentially take longer than setting up a private cloud using colocation. In practice, however, this would be highly unlikely.
By contrast, it is practically guaranteed to take longer than getting started in a regular public cloud. This is usually just a matter of pressing a few buttons.
This is possibly the area where private IaaS has the potential to shine. With a private cloud, the fact that the business owns its own infrastructure means that it also owns any unexpected costs.
For practical purposes, the biggest risk is unplanned labor costs. These can be mitigated by using a combination of colocation and managed service providers. This does still leave unplanned hardware and software costs. Realistically, however, these should be fairly minimal.
As long as the deployment has been properly planned, it shouldn’t need to be expanded unexpectedly. This means that it shouldn’t need additional hardware or software. Most, if not all, hardware failures should be covered under warranties. Ideally, software fees should be covered by a long-term contract. Even if they’re not, however, price increases are unlikely to be massively steep. If they are, there are usually alternatives.
With the public cloud, all of these risks are avoided. Clients are, however, still at risk of the CSP updating their fees. They can mitigate this risk by signing up for longer-term contracts. If they do so, however, they are essentially moving into the territory of private IaaS. With private IaaS, a client can negotiate a guaranteed service for a guaranteed price.
Private IaaS is certainly less scalable than the regular public cloud. With the regular public cloud, you simply increase and decrease your use of resources with a few clicks. In fact, you may not even need to click. In some circumstances at least, you may be able to automate the process.
With private IaaS, you will need to renegotiate your contract with the vendor. This means that essentially the same comments apply as for the initial setup. In theory, this could take longer than scaling a fully private cloud (assuming you are using colocation). In practice, this is unlikely.
Realistically, the customizability of private IaaS is likely to be roughly on par with the public cloud. This is because you will essentially be using public cloud infrastructure. You will just be using it on a private basis.
If you sign a longer contract, your CSP may be willing to increase your customization options. The more customizability matters to you, however, the more you should probably lean towards just implementing a private cloud. With a private cloud, you can literally customize each component of your deployment.
All forms of the cloud can be implemented securely. Public cloud service providers can now provide infrastructure that complies with the most stringent compliance programs. This includes FedRAMP, HIPAA, and GDPR.
At the end of the day, however, if you use either private IaaS or a public cloud, you do need to put your data on infrastructure controlled by a third party. If you have reservations about this (or feel that stakeholders might), then a public cloud would be your better option.
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