If you are like many IT executives, you are evaluating how cloud services may benefit your organization. Despite the rate at which cloud providers are appearing on the scene, many enterprises still have real concerns about security and performance when it comes to utilizing cloud-based infrastructure for critical workloads.  There are, however, options that provide much of the sought after flexibility, portability and scalability of the public cloud, without having to sacrifice security or performance.

What’s driving companies to private cloud?

Private cloud solutions can deliver many of the benefits of a virtualized compute and storage environment but, unlike the public cloud, they are delivered on single-tenant, physically-dedicated hardware with security enhanced network connectivity.  Because of this, they can minimize concerns you may have about the privacy of your data and the performance of your applications.  Some of the common drivers for this type of solution include:

1. Technology Refresh

For many companies, existing hardware and software platforms are reaching “end of life.” Some companies are using the opportunity to migrate to private cloud solutions. One of their primary advantages is that private clouds are delivered on pre-engineered, converged platforms that include all the required network, server, and storage elements – already integrated and fully-tested by the manufacturer. No need to go through lengthy and costly integration processes – just power up and go! If you are considering a new virtual desktop or ecommerce deployment, these turnkey systems can greatly reduce your time to market.

2. Disaster Recovery

As companies continue to look for alternatives to the traditional disaster recovery model of maintaining a cold/standby facility somewhere in case their main data center goes down, private cloud can offer real advantages.  The fact, again, that these platforms are pre-engineered, fully-integrated, and ready to deploy works very well for the disaster recovery use case.  In practice, we are seeing many of our customers deploy multiple instances of these dedicated, private clouds in geographically diverse locations for higher levels of recoverability. And when you don’t need the resources for DR, they can be used for development and test purposes. After all, nothing is more important for Dev-Test than having an environment that is an exact replica of production.

3. Total Cost of Ownership

In many cases, not only can private cloud offer technology benefits like those mentioned above, but those can typically translate into substantial financial benefits.  Offloading the typical tasks involved in engineering, installation, integration, and testing can mean significant savings and can free up your internal staff for other mission-critical initiatives.  Improving your availability through redundant, active-active deployment models can not only reduce the dollars lost to unplanned downtime, but also can replace the high cost of traditional DR arrangements.  Using a provider’s data center to house these private clouds can help avoid space, power, and cooling costs. And, the reduced time it takes to get these pre-built systems online can translate into competitive advantage and increased revenue.

Extending your technology investment

A final advantage of the private cloud approach is that these solutions can usually be built on platforms that are interoperable with any current and future technology investments the business has.  Whether an organization needs to connect with existing legacy platforms or is plotting a course to use more public cloud services in the future, compatibility is not likely going to be an issue.  Many of the private cloud solutions available can be configured to cross the bridge to the public cloud, creating a “hybrid cloud” model that utilizes private, single-tenant resources as the primary resource pool, but allowing workloads to shift into temporary, public cloud space to handle peak loads or unanticipated spikes in traffic on an “as-needed” basis.  And using the company’s existing MPLS or company VPN for that hybrid connection maintains the same levels of security and performance that were already in place.

If your to-do list for 2013 includes new compute infrastructure — whether it is for technology refresh, business continuity, or to reduce the cost of supporting legacy systems — are you taking a closer look at private cloud options? What key drivers are leading your business toward the private cloud?