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If you read a lot of business and technology publications, you might think public clouds are universally preferred over all other cloud options. To be sure, the numbers posted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure platform are nothing short of impressive. Statistics reveal that public clouds are growing faster than private clouds and analysts at IDC predict that public cloud growth will be 3 times that of private clouds by 2019.

However, recent Forrester research shows that migration to a Hosted Private Cloud is still a leading component of a Hybrid IT strategy for many organizations:

 “Hosted private cloud adoption rose significantly between 2015 and 2016 in North America (28% to 33%). . . . Among all cloud adopters and planners, 36% state that hosted private cloud is — or will be — their primary cloud computing platform.”
                                                                                        ~ Adoption Profile: Hosted Private Cloud in North America and Europe, Q1 2017

What is a Hosted Private Cloud?

A Hosted Private Cloud allows you to build, deploy, and manage applications with dedicated compute, network, and storage resources in a 3rd party data center. As a cloud option, they’ve been around pretty much since the concept of “the cloud” itself, but since these aren’t the types of clouds offered by the larger, public providers in the business, they don’t get as much publicity. Hosted Private Clouds carry many of the same benefits as other cloud options. For example, as with a public cloud, you do not own the infrastructure so capital expenses are usually lower. In addition, your provider operates the facility, so the on-going tasks and expense of operating a data center is fully outsourced to the provider. This is a big benefit if facilities management isn’t your strong suit.

Public Clouds are also known for their scalability but not necessarily their flexibility. Flexibility is where Hosted Private Cloud outshines Public; the customer can typically tailor the cloud environment to their needs. Whether it’s hardware, software or improved access to system resources, the customer often has many more options available to them. Further, automation is typically also available as Private Cloud providers make it easy to provision resources.

For example, our clients view and monitor their physical and virtual resources through the TierPoint Portal – including Public Cloud resources. We can even configure our Hosted Private Clouds to immediately leverage multi-tenant resources if their usage unexpectedly exceeds contracted capacity, so clients don’t need to deal with capacity issues while they have their hands full with more immediate concerns.

Why Choose a Hosted Private Cloud?

Not surprisingly, Forrester found that first-time cloud migrations led the way with 27% of companies citing it as their reason for choosing a Hosted Private Cloud. On the surface, this makes sense. First, migrating to the cloud is often a significant project and organizations struggle with getting available resources organized to tackle a large project. Next, companies that put off migrating to the cloud often hold back due to key concerns like security and performance—exactly the types of issues a Hosted Private Cloud can help address. In fact, 67% of participants in Forrester’s study cited security or ability to meet compliance requirements as their reason for adopting a Hosted Private Cloud.

Related Post: Lessons Learned from Public Cloud Outages

To fully understand these two drivers, we need to take a closer look. Public Cloud providers offer a wide array of security options, but the user often needs to take responsibility for ensuring these options are configured correctly. A Hosted Private Cloud is less of a DIY proposition if the provider offers Managed Security options. For organizations with significant security requirements, especially those for whom security is not a core competency, Managed Security is a good choice.

As is the case with many regulations, such as PCI DSS and HIPAA, compliance is closely related to security. Furthermore, some compliance regulations also mandate knowing where your data is stored. A Hosted Private Cloud typically gives you more options and control over that than a Public Cloud.

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Finally, Hosted Private Clouds also make sense for organizations who rely on applications that aren’t engineered for the cloud, e.g., large, monolithic applications such as legacy ERP systems. To move these functions to the cloud securely and without loss of performance often requires the application either be replaced or rewritten. Neither of these options is quick or inexpensive. Legacy apps can often be migrated from on-premises infrastructure to a Hosted Private Cloud as is.

Why Choose a Public Cloud?

If Hosted Private Clouds give you everything a public cloud does with even greater security and performance, and without the need to rewrite or replace applications, why would anyone choose a public cloud? The last thing we want to do is leave you with the impression that Hosted Private Clouds are always better. Today’s Public Clouds provide outstanding performance for a variety of workloads, security is state-of-the-art, and they can usually help you cut costs even better than a Hosted Private Cloud. For the right workloads, a Public Cloud is an excellent choice. Public Clouds can also be an invaluable resource for Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning, although, a Hosted Private Cloud still offers many preferable benefits.  It’s worth exploring the available options with your Managed Services Provider and making the decision based on a prioritized set of requirements.

Related Post: Strategic Planning: Rethinking Your Hybrid IT Strategy in 2017

According to IDC, more than 80% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to a hybrid cloud architecture by 2017, i.e., some combination of public, private, multi-tenant, and on-premises resources. Choosing the right cloud is a matter of understanding the needs of your business and your workload. We can help. Set up a free whiteboard session with one of our advisors by reaching out to us here.

Matt Brickey is Vice President of Consulting Services at TierPoint where he is responsible for TierPoint’s consulting services portfolio.  Matt brings 20+ years of experience leading product management and engineering teams focused on building and delivering Cloud and Managed Hosting Services on a global scale. Matt is located in the St Louis Headquarters facility.