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What is a private cloud?

A private cloud is a cloud computing deployment model where all cloud resources are dedicated to a single customer or user organization. Private cloud, sometimes called internal private cloud or corporate cloud, provides many benefits of cloud computing environments, including scalability, flexibility, and faster service delivery. At the same time, private clouds are single-tenant, allowing customers to maintain the same level of security, access control, and customization they had with on-premises infrastructure. 

Traditionally, private clouds were run on-premises, but it’s now possible to run private cloud services using rented infrastructure in a cloud service provider’s data centers.

Private cloud vs. public cloud vs. hybrid cloud solutions

Generally, there are three types of clouds you can choose from when selecting a cloud deployment model: private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. 

  • Private cloud: Single-tenant environments where the cloud resources and services are dedicated to a single organization. Private clouds in cloud computing are typically hosted on-premises in an organization’s data center, but they can also be run off-premises or, increasingly, on IT infrastructure rented from a cloud provider. 
  • Public cloud: Public cloud is multi-tenant, meaning all the cloud resources and services are shared between multiple customers, typically hundreds or even thousands. Unlike private cloud, public cloud resources are owned and operated by a third-party cloud provider, such as Google Cloud. 
  • Hybrid cloud: Hybrid cloud solutions aim to merge private and public clouds, integrating a private computing environment with public cloud resources. Hybrid clouds enable organizations to choose between private and public environments for specific apps and workloads, while getting the benefits of unified management across the two. 

More recently, organizations are also opting for multicloud environments, which use cloud computing services from at least two cloud providers, either public or private. Hybrid clouds can be considered multicloud if they include private cloud computing services and combine resources from more than one public cloud service provider.

Private cloud types

There are four main types of private clouds, including on-premises private cloud, virtual private cloud, hosted private cloud, and managed private cloud. These types of private cloud environments differ from each other depending on who manages the environment and where it is hosted. Each private cloud type offers various benefits and functions based on your organization's needs.  

Let’s take a closer look at each type of private cloud: 

On-premises private cloud

On-premises private clouds are internally hosted in your data center and managed by your IT team. An on-site private cloud offers high levels of control over data privacy, security, and customization, but capacity is limited to your available infrastructure. 

Virtual private cloud

A virtual private cloud (VPC) offers private resources and an isolated environment using shared public cloud resources. With a VPC service, you can define and control a custom virtual network that acts similarly to a private cloud environment.  This allows you to run workloads separately from other organizations while still using a public cloud provider’s shared IT infrastructure. 

Hosted private cloud

Hosted private clouds, or private cloud hosting, are run off-premises on a third-party vendor’s cloud servers. However, unlike a VPC, you don’t have to share with other customers, and instead, private cloud servers are used by a single organization. Hosted private cloud services offer more resources and high-demand scalability options, a user-friendly dashboard, and a support team. In addition, the service provider owns and manages cloud resources, including maintenance, upgrades, and security management. 

Managed private cloud

Managed private clouds are typically in a hosted single-tenant cloud environment but can also be located on-premises at your organization, where infrastructure is not shared. With fully managed private clouds, a third-party provider is responsible for deploying, configuring, managing, and maintaining the private cloud, including the software, network, and operations. Providers may also offer other services, such as identity management, storage, or backups and disaster recovery. 

Why use private clouds instead of physical infrastructure?

Using on-premises IT infrastructure to deploy applications requires investing in sophisticated hardware and servers, software, storage, and other robust services. You also need a dedicated and experienced team of IT personnel that can help to maintain, manage, and scale your infrastructure regularly. 

Cloud computing makes these same resources available without the responsibility of purchasing or maintaining the infrastructure and also allows organizations to access the resources and services they need quickly with pay-as-you-go pricing. 

However, the shared, multi-tenant environments of the public cloud sacrifice some security and control, which may not be optional for certain companies and industries. For instance, highly regulated industries like financial services or healthcare may face tighter security or compliance regulations that make adopting public cloud more difficult, even impossible. 

On the other hand, private clouds make internal cloud services and resources available on demand in a dedicated IT environment. This allows businesses to take advantage of flexible, scalable, self-service infrastructure while maintaining control and removing the risks of multi-tenant architectures.

Advantages of private clouds


A private cloud allows you to provision and customize infrastructure based on your specific technology and business requirements.

More control 

Since private cloud platforms are hosted in private environments on-premises or in a third-party data center, they give you greater visibility and control over your data and infrastructure.

Increased security 

Private clouds operate in isolated, dedicated environments that limit access to a single organization through private and secure networks, rather than the public internet.

Enhanced compliance 

You can freely deploy a private cloud to meet access-control or retention policies. Private cloud infrastructure enables you to control where your data is stored and where computing takes place.

Consistent performance

With private cloud environments, performance is more predictable since your hardware isn’t shared with other organizations.

Application modernization

Many organizations opt to use private cloud environments to modernize legacy applications. Private clouds can be customized to match individual applications, making them an easier path to transition workloads to the cloud. 

Disadvantages of a private cloud for enterprises

The biggest disadvantage of private cloud for organizations is that they come with higher costs, especially if you have to purchase and install new hardware. You may also need to pay for operating systems, software licenses, and hire or allocate resources for cloud management and maintenance. 

In addition, private cloud solutions are often less flexible and offer less scalability. The available capacity and capabilities are limited to the hardware and software you have purchased and set up, meaning you’ll need to make additional purchases if you need to scale or add new features.

Why use Google Cloud Virtual Private Cloud as a private cloud platform?

Virtual Private Cloud allows you to provide networking functionality to your Google Cloud resources and services, such as virtual machine instances, containers, managed Kubernetes clusters, and PaaS environments. You can create a single VPC on a global virtual network that spans over 30 regions and 100 zones in more than 200 countries and territories. 

With Google Cloud VPC, you can build multiple, customizable virtual private networks while still gaining the highest levels of isolation from other cloud customers. At the same time, you also gain many of the benefits you’d expect from adopting public cloud. Virtual Private Cloud gives you the same agility, flexibility, cloud security, and reliability of the public cloud while giving you full control over your virtual networking environment. You’ll also get private access to Google services, such as cloud storage, smart data analytics, and AI and machine learning products

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