When is a private cloud right for your organization?

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When is a private

cloud right for your


A private cloud is not for everyone. Use this guide to help

you choose the right cloud model for your business.

Copyright © Intermedia.net, Inc • All rights reserved


650.641.3991 sales@intermedia.net intermedia.net/products/private-cloud




The cloud is obviously one of the hottest trends in enterprise IT. Building on the broad success of virtualization technologies over the course of the last decade, the enterprise approach to the cloud is evolving toward more private or hybrid deployments. Indeed, The Radicati Group predicts that dedicated cloud adoption will reach 25% in 2018 for areas like Hosted Exchange.

Many CIOs and CTOs of large enterprises are attracted to the single-tenant (or private cloud) environment. They may believe that a dedicated deployment model offers new opportunities for customization and integration that are not possible with a public or shared cloud. They may also believe that security and privacy can be enhanced in a private cloud because they’ll have more control over data, applications and services.

When looking to deploy a private cloud, enterprises need to understand that private cloud deployments have complex technical and business challenges that some cloud vendors may not have been able to meet. Private clouds require a lengthy process for defining requirements and applications, as well as architecture customization. The model is still being defined, and it’s possible that the companies that have already deployed a private cloud may not be the most ideal candidates.

This makes it critical for companies that are considering the private cloud to fully understand its pros and cons before making the leap. There are many unlikely variables to consider—including your IT organizational structure, your service requirements, and your data replication needs. This white paper will help you understand the difference between various cloud models and give you criteria for choosing the one that’s right for you.

A cloud by any other name…

There are a large number of cloud models: public, multi-tenant, community, private and hybrid. There are also many different definitions for each model—which can lead to confusion in the marketplace. To add certainty (and reduce the likelihood that you select the wrong model), here are a few definitions:

Public cloud—like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. In a public cloud, the cloud

provider manages the datacenter, virtualization and hardware. The operating system, middleware and application are managed by the customer. Public clouds are offered to the customer on-demand and in a highly automated way. The infrastructure is owned, built and operated by the service provider, which effectively rents access to its customer. • Managed public cloud—like Intermedia’s Hosted Exchange or SecuriSync. In a managed

cloud, the vendor provides not just the infrastructure but also software. This is also known as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). A managed cloud’s infrastructure is typically shared by different companies as a multitenant environment. In contrast to the public cloud, a managed cloud vendor provides access to the infrastructure as well as services for monitoring and managing the operating system, applications and middleware. • Managed private cloud. In a managed private cloud, the infrastructure is not shared.

This is also known as “single-tenant” or “dedicated” cloud. See the section below for the implications of a private cloud environment—including the fact that the infrastructure may actually be located on site in the subscriber’s own datacenter.

On-premises infrastructure. It’s important to contrast all of the above options to the traditional

on-premises model, in which the business owns and operates its own infrastructure.


3 Public Cloud Managed Public Cloud Managed Private Cloud On-Premises

Owner Provider Provider Provider Subscriber


provided by Provider Provider Provider Subscriber Tenant(s) Unlimited (shared) Limited (shared) Single Single

Operated by Subscriber Provider Provider Subscriber

Services from

provider Only infrastructure

Infrastructure and software

Infrastructure and software n/a

Location Provider Provider Provider or Subscriber Subscriber

Hosted versus On-Premises Private Cloud

The phrase “private cloud” has different connotations and interpretations to different people. There are many approaches and strategies that can rightfully be called “private cloud,” depending largely on the products being offered by the provider—and more evolution is expected in the future.

According to Gartner Research, a private cloud is a form of cloud computing that is used by only one organization, or that ensures that an organization is completely isolated from others2. Access to the

private cloud is limited to an organization and implemented for a defined set of internal users. However, from the end-user perspective, the services are similar or identical to those hosted in a public cloud. With a private cloud, multiple customers do not reside concurrently on the same infrastructure. Just one organization has access to the environment. However, the infrastructure is owned by the provider and located at the provider’s facilities.

An alternative or subtype is the “on-premises private cloud,” in which the customer owns the infrastructure but the provider designs, manage and monitors the infrastructure.

2 Gartner Research, Gartner Highlights: Five Things That the Private Cloud Is Not, September 13, 2012

Hosted Private Cloud On-premise Private Cloud

Location Provider Subscriber


provided by Provider Provider or Subscriber Tenant(s) Single Single

Services provided Infrastructure and software Infrastructure and software or Only software



Assess your needs: does a private cloud make sense for you?

Look beyond security and cost reduction

First and foremost, security and cost reduction are typically not the primary benefits of private cloud

computing. Instead, the primary benefits are actually speed of innovation (the ability to meet rapidly changing market requirements) and the ability to roll out new services in a more efficient way. That said, security is still a criterion to consider when determining if a private cloud is right for your business. You’ll also want to assess the importance of being able to customize your cloud, integrate with your other services, control upgrade scheduling and effectively replicate data.


Low importance Very important


Low importance Very important


Low importance Very important


Low importance Very important

Data Replication

Low importance Very important

Managed Cloud


5 1. Customizations. Do you need to customize both your network and storage? Perhaps you have

IP-address restrictions, in-line security appliances or other custom requirements. In many cases, a public cloud won’t work. A private cloud is often the only choice for customizations such as IPsec VPN connectivity, MPLS/peering available and co-located equipment or customized tape rotation. 2. Integrations. There are a limited number of services that are available today in public clouds.

However, most enterprises manage at least some services that cannot be addressed by a public cloud offerings, especially when it comes to integration with internal systems and custom applications.

Therefore, one of the main advantages of a private cloud is the flexibility to integrate your line of business applications. Some examples could be a customized integration between Hosted Exchange and your business applications; integratied Mobile Device Management solutions; CRM; custom SharePoint installations; unified messaging systems; content archiving systems, and many others.

3. Control. Public clouds often leave you with no control over the deployment schedule for product

updates. This is problematic if you want to delay updates due to compatibility issues with your internal systems or support polices. A private cloud can offer more control over the environment, which translates into more control over the roadmap. A private cloud customer is often

more empowered.

4. Security. As explained earlier, it’s a misconception that security is one of the main drivers of

private cloud. However, that doesn’t mean that companies requiring high levels of data security don’t gravitate towards dedicated deployments. In a private cloud, a customer’s data resides on their own server, and the provider may add on the services of dedicated account managers and product managers to customize specific security parameters. In a multi-tenant environment, the provider typically standardizes the services provided, which leaves little room for

additional security measures.

5. Data Replication. Are you looking for a continuous cross-site replication of data enabling

to ease disaster recovery? Some multi-tenant clouds offer replication in one datacenter by default and passive replication in the second datacenter as a premium option. With a private cloud, you can get a customizable data replication environment that lets you choose multiple options in terms of number of sites to have and replication options.

Other factors to consider

The factors we’ve just discussed are the main drivers for the choice between public and private clouds. However, there are a number of other factors to consider:

Vendor expertise. Experienced vendors understand the value of premium service: they use

enterprise-grade hardware and provide 24/7 support and monitoring.

Control. Some companies opt for private clouds because they need to roll out new services and

capabilities in a more agile way. They are looking to scale quickly, turn services on and off quickly, enable new capabilities, test new solutions, and experiment with IT.

The size of your business. Many vendors only offer private clouds for very large customers

or strategic deals. That’s because dedicated deployments are typically more costly, which creates the need for vendors to establish a minimum number of seats.

The capabilities of your IT department. Another factor is whether your own IT team can manage

the infrastructure for you. If you have the right internal IT resources, you may not need to outsource computing at all.



The challenges of private clouds

Private clouds offer a number of attractive solutions, but they also come with their own sets of challenges. For example, adopting a private cloud will require changing and managing your IT processes. And you must strictly define your service requirements, which can be difficult for organizations jumping into private clouds for the first time.

The design and management of a private cloud are the most important keys to success. This is true even though the most common approach to building a private cloud is through the purchase of commercial software and use of existing infrastructure resources and people in the company. Leaving the implementation of a private cloud to a specialized vendor can be very helpful, especially in complex IT scenarios or when you have very specific needs.

Finally, other challenges you can expect will include data migration, simplification of the end user experience, full automation of specific IT processes, collection of metrics, and managing compliance and security controls.

Next steps after your assessment

Hopefully you now understand the benefits of private clouds and the drivers behind your IT needs. If you place a high value on the factors discussed here, we encourage you to contact one of our enterprise specialists to add more details to your assessment and begin exploring specific options.

We’re also happy to help you if you’re unsure of which direction to choose. For example, perhaps integration with internal systems is your main driver—what then? Can a public cloud serve all your other needs?

Finally, if none of these factors are important for you, we recommend a multi-tenant cloud, as there is probably no need for a dedicated cloud.


As you consider the best cloud option for your organization, be aware that private clouds offer many more benefits beyond security and privacy. And because not every company will find a private cloud to be the correct choice, you must honestly assess the needs and requirements of your organization. Be sure to evaluate your needs based on customization, integrations, control, security and data replication. This will help you understand if a private cloud is the right cloud model for your company and determine if there is a sufficient level of need to justify the investment in a dedicated deployment. Most companies find that success with private clouds requires engaging specialized vendors that understand the services you provide, your service-level requirements and your current service costs. A company like Intermedia can design and manage a private cloud that’s customized to your specific IT needs. We also offer dedicated Technical Account Managers and migration services that extend our famous Worry-Free Experience™ to the private cloud. Intermedia has over 60,000 customers and over 5,000 active partners that rely on us for the freedom to focus on business.

Copyright © Intermedia.net, Inc • All rights reserved


650.641.3991 sales@intermedia.net intermedia.net/products/private-cloud