If it seems like cloud computing has changed business overnight, you're probably right. The cloud industry has grown astronomically in the last few years, going from a $5 billion dollar industry in 2008 to a roughly $80 billion today. By 2020, the industry is expected to hit $160 billion or more.
On the user;s side, cloud computing has become one of the most-cited targets of investment among businesses surveyed on their IT expenditures.
Broadly speaking, cloud computing business models can be broken up into three types: public, private, and hosted private hybrids. Of these, the hybrid hosted private cloud systems are becoming the industry standard for a number of reasons.
Public Versus Private Cloud Hosting
Public cloud hosting companies generally include those that only provide space and access, such as Amazon's AWS service. Aside from guaranteeing availability, these services are open for virtually anyone to sign up for; speed and reliability depend heavily on how many users are utilizing them at once.
Private cloud hosting is, on the other hand, entirely self-owned and managed. This allows a business total control over its cloud computing efforts as well as exclusive access to it. Unfortunately, private hosting also requires a huge technology investment along with the expertise needed to manage it, putting this option out of the reach of many smaller organizations.
As one might imagine, this has created a large market gap, and a third type of cloud hosting service has appeared and quickly taken center stage: the hosted private cloud. Analyst firm IDC shows hosted private clouds as the fastest growing cloud platform. Its predicted compounded annual growth rate is 50% a year.
The Advantages of Hosted Private Clouds
Hosted private clouds essentially involve hiring a company to host and manage cloud computing services with extensive systems management as well. These firms are effectively a hired IT department, managing a public cloud as though it's private with a wide range of management, usability, and security options.
In a hosted private cloud scenario, the host generally also works closely with the business to ensure the local infrastructure and hardware interfaces correctly with the host. Once this is achieved, the host can manage the cloud space and access remotely with minimal input needed from the client organization.
This gives businesses, especially smaller firms, the ability to leverage professional-level cloud services that were only within the range of the largest firms even five years ago. Hosted private clouds are affordable and ultimately can prevent or delay large investments into hardware and manpower.
Even hardware manufacturers are beginning to get into the private hosting game with companies offering plans that cover everything from initial hardware to off-site hosting and management. These all-in-one solutions are likely to be popular among businesses wanting to move into cloud computing with a minimum of disruption.
Hosted Private Clouds In the Future
The one x-factor here, which simply cannot yet be predicted in such a young industry, is how many firms will remain on private hosted cloud providers. Will these platform-as-a-service providers hang onto their users? Or, as seems to be the tendency with the hosted voice-over IP market, will they come to be seen as mere stepping stones towards self-hosted private cloud solutions?
It remains to be seen but in the meantime, private hosted cloud services have become a booming business. The combination of affordable costs and effective service make it a simple way for businesses to get into cloud computing without a large upfront investment.