Private clouds, virtual private servers and other forms of hosting have become very important in the business world today. Those who are not in the know may think virtual private servers and private clouds are the same thing. While they are similar services, there are differences and the terms are not interchangeable. Understanding what each of these products actually is and the differences between them can help a company decide what would be the best hosting solution for them.
Private clouds are a scalable and secure type of server ideal for larger firms. Unlike a VPS, there is some set-up and maintenance required — since the server is generally located in a firm’s data center or other private location. As such, a private cloud is within a company’s personal firewall which makes it extremely secure. Choosing a private cloud is a big decision. However, since it does have future scalability options, it can serve a firm well for the long term.
There are cloud hosts that provide private cloud hosting. In that case, the company using the servers doesn’t physically maintain anything, the host does. The client’s servers are kept separate from other clients’ servers, often requiring different security credentials to access physically. This type of private cloud hosting is nearly as secure as in-house private cloud hosting, but it requires no direct investment in server hardware.
Virtual Private Servers
This type of server offers much flexibility in terms of hosting at a lower price point than a private cloud. One physical server is divided among several users. This gives virtual private server hosting the benefits of a private server, but does cuts down on maintenance, tech-support and up-front costs. While security is a concern, there is no overlap of data from one firm to another — even if the data is stored on the same server. The Green House Data website notes that a VPS operates very similar to a virtual server environment at a price that is much less expensive than other private options.
An interesting article by Club Cloud Computing names four distinct differences between private clouds and virtual private servers. These differences include:
In general, clouds use many servers to divide storage and computing tasks. A VPS is one physical server that’s split among several virtual servers, but all of one client’s information is kept together — giving the user more flexibility with how the space is used.
A VPS is hosted off-site at a third party provider. A private cloud is situated either in a data center that you own or in a host’s data enter; either way, the physical machines are separate from other companies’.
Both solutions are scalable; however, there is a bit more effort involved with scaling a VPS. In this respect a private cloud may be easier, but as infrequently as upgrades may occur it shouldn’t be a major factor.
An in-house private cloud does have a higher upfront cost as a firm shoulders the cost of installation, set-up and maintenance. A VPS generally has a monthly or yearly fee. If cost is the main issue, VPS normally wins every time.
As you can see, there are distinct, if small, differences between a private cloud and a virtual private server. Both types of servers are useful and can help with the growth of a firm. A company should evaluate its needs to determine which of these will work best for both current needs and those that may occur in the future.