Private cloud vs on-premise: Which is better for your organization?

Private Cloud vs On-premise comparison: what to choose for your LMS

Whether you’re running an internet business or operate in a more traditional industry, choosing the right hosting model for your company’s online services is an important step. So, before you make a choice, it is imperative that you have done a thorough private cloud vs on-premise comparison.

In this post, we’ll examine the most popular deployment options for enterprise-level LMS software, and weigh the private cloud vs on-premise pros and cons.

On-premise hosting

Under the on-premise hosting model, you run your enterprise LMS software on your own servers, which are hosted on a data center at your premises and are managed by your IT staff.

While on-premise sees strong competition from the increasing number of cloud offerings, it’s still holding its own in the enterprise world. In fact, a 2018 study by Gartner, Inc. showed a 17.3% year-over-year growth in server purchases for enterprise data centers.

The main selling point of on-premise hosting is that you retain full control of your data and services. This is especially important in this era of strict data protection laws and increased user concerns over privacy.

Running your LMS in your own data center allows you to enforce in your training servers the same deployment rules, security restrictions, and DevOps processes already in place across your IT infrastructure.

You also don’t have to share your training servers with anyone else, which gives you better performance per dollar compared to the average co-hosted private cloud solution.

Last but not least, since an on-premise LMS lives on your own data center, it will be easier to restrict access to employees inside your premises, or to integrate it with other systems you already have.

All this flexibility, however, comes at a cost.

Your IT staff will have to spend a good chunk of time to spec, order, install, set up, configure, and deploy your on-premise LMS. And that’s just to get it up and running. To keep your training portal working smoothly and securely they’ll also need to monitor it and perform regular maintenance work.

Private cloud hosting

In private cloud hosting, you rent your service infrastructure from a private cloud solutions vendor, that takes care of running the network and maintaining the hardware.

Private cloud hosting is increasingly popular with medium and large businesses that need to offload some of their IT work, but want to maintain control of their software infrastructure.

The main benefit of hosting your LMS on a private cloud is that you don’t have to set up and maintain additional infrastructure on your own data center (or even have a data center). The private cloud vendor hosts your training software and makes sure that it runs smoothly.

While the private cloud vendor is responsible for the hosting infrastructure, you still have the final say on everything from the OS and upwards. You can fully customize your LMS installation, add custom training extensions, and even co-host packages such as WordPress.

Private cloud hosting also makes it easier to scale your training portal (e.g., to train large multinational teams, or to open your training to the public). Most vendors let you upgrade any part of your hosting plan (CPU, storage, bandwidth, etc.) on demand.

It’s not all roses, though.

While private clouds have been embraced as reliable enterprise hosting options over the years, it’s still possible that you’ll suffer the occasional outage. And during that, your only option will be to wait for your vendor’s IT team to restore the service.

Plus, private cloud hosting makes it slightly more complicated to integrate your LMS with software and hardware systems in your data center.

Last, but not least, you have to share control of your data with the private cloud vendor that is responsible for storing and handling them. Considering the increasingly harsher laws against data mismanagement (e.g., EU’s GDPR legislation), you will need to either opt for on-premise hosting (if you have the technical skills to secure it) or choose your private cloud vendor wisely.

Private Cloud vs On-premise comparison: what to choose for your LMS

Private cloud vs on-premise comparison: which and why?

So, now that you have seen the basics of what these options can offer to you, let’s see when and why you should choose each of them.

Pick on-premise LMS hosting

– If training is critical for your business

If your LMS is crucial for your day-to-day operation, you might not want to depend on a third-party vendor for its availability.

– If your training includes sensitive information

Your training often contains sensitive material that must not leak outside the company (e.g., secret employee training material ahead of a surprise product launch). In these cases hosting it on-premise lets you keep everything under close guard.

– If you want total control of your data

In today’s privacy-centric landscape and especially in light of GDPR regulations (which impose large penalties for data breaches), trusting your company’s services to a cloud-based third party is a risk many CEOs are not willing to take.

On-premise hosting is the tried-and-true alternative that lets you retain total control over your data. eFront, for example, can run as a self-hosted intranet service, letting you train your employees without your data ever reaching the internet.

– If you need to integrate your LMS with other enterprise systems

If your training portal needs to talk to machines and services hosted on your data center, self-hosting is the best option.

– If you want to keep your IT resources in-house

If you are a larger company with considerable IT expertise, self-hosting can help you to simplify your server management and centralize control of your training infrastructure.

When to opt for a private cloud-based LMS solution

– If you want the quickest time to deployment

Private cloud hosting lets you create a full-blown corporate training portal in less than a day. That’s lightning fast compared to waiting several weeks for your company to choose, buy, and set up the required servers.

– If you want to free up corporate IT resources

Offloading your LMS hosting to a private cloud will enable your IT staff to spend more time on your most crucial business services, such as your CRM and ERP.

– If you lack in-house IT expertise

Smaller companies often lack the IT skills to manage their own data center. In such cases, a private cloud vendor is a more secure and stable option.

– If you run publicly available training

If your training is open to the general public (e.g., if you run a customer training program), then private cloud hosting offers a fast web deployment option and makes it easier to scale your training portal as your audience grows.

– If you don’t have any special integration needs

If your LMS doesn’t need to connect to your core IT infrastructure, then offloading it to a private cloud gives you great customizability without the headaches of maintenance.


As you have probably already guessed, there’s no clear winner in our private cloud vs on-premise comparison.

Both cloud and on-premise hosting have their pros and cons, and offer different tradeoffs. Either of them can be a fine choice for your enterprise training LMS.

It all comes down to your company’s IT skills, your training needs, and your choice of LMS software. Some platforms offer no private cloud hosting options, whereas others don’t let you self-host ― making the whole cloud vs on-premise comparison a moot point.

Our own training platform, eFront, is a rare breed of LMS that can be deployed both on-premise and to a private cloud. In fact, our fully managed Private Cloud option goes for the exact same price as the on-premise version and comes with free updates, support, and backups. Plus, for the ultimate in speed, it lets you choose the hosting region that’s closer to your users between US, EU, Asia, and Australia.

Improve your employee, partner and customer training with our enterprise-ready learning management system. Book a demo now and see why our diverse portfolio of customers consistently give us 5 stars (out of 5!)

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