Private Cloud vs AWS for Desktop Application Development

Posted on by Tom Beaudoin | Updated:
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When you’re developing new applications — whether desktop, mobile, or web — one of the first problems that needs to be solved is choosing the correct hosting infrastructure.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been dominating the hosting and cloud computing industry for over a decade now, with about 32 percent of the cloud market, which is more than all the closest competitors combined. AWS provides over 200 services, from computing to storage, networking, databases, deployment, machine learning, and more. Its most popular products are Elastic Compute (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3).

It would be easy to assume that with this kind of breadth and market domination, AWS and other major cloud service providers would attract all the new app developers. However, this is not the case.

There’s a vibrant and growing market segment increasingly choosing to go with private cloud for apps over the public cloud service providers, and for good reasons.

Hosting and Computing Requirements for App Developers

Before app developers can get to work actually building out their idea, it’s critical to assess and estimate projected requirements for their hosting infrastructure.

Computing Power

How much CPU and RAM will the app consume, and what’s the balance between the two? Sometimes, it makes sense to use smaller servers and spread out the load. In other situations, one large instance can do the job better.

Data Storage

How much data needs to be stored and retrieved? Apps that serve lots of images and videos can use up tons of storage space, especially if it’s user-generated content that will increase over time.

User Growth

How fast will the user base grow? Although it’s difficult to estimate actual user growth, some apps are targeted toward scaling rapidly, some apps have seasonal fluctuations, and some apps can even be internal with a well-defined number of users. Knowing these metrics will help you choose servers that support the appropriate amount of data and network capacity.

Development Environment

What are the development environment requirements? Virtualization can provide a great foundation for mobile or desktop application development and testing, with support for multiple operating systems, containerization, deployments over CLI, easier server management, and more.

Virtual machine software like VMware can run practically everywhere. With AWS, companies are most likely using an unmanaged public cloud. For those looking for assistance with managing their infrastructure, managed private cloud solutions are available, which might actually be a better fit for most small to medium-sized app developers.

How to Choose Between Private Cloud vs AWS

So, when should app developers choose a Private Cloud vs AWS? Here are a few major differences:

Products and Services

As mentioned above, AWS doesn’t just offer hosting and computing — it has over 200 products and services and continues to develop new ones, which sometimes overlap in serving the same markets.

In contrast, private cloud hosting solutions provide all the essential services related to computing, storage, networking, backups, and database management. Unlike AWS, most of the private cloud services do exactly what needs to be done and are fully managed, which takes a lot of pressure off of app development teams.

The fact is that most app developers starting out don’t need all possible cloud services at once — they want a specific and tailored solution done well, and that’s exactly what a good private cloud provider offers.

Geographic Availability

AWS provides worldwide data center availability, which includes a completely separate data servers division in China for the local market. In comparison, independent private cloud hosting companies have fewer servers that are usually primarily centered around their headquarters. 

When starting out, it’s more important for app developers to consider the ease of setting servers up, the pricing structure, and the availability of customer support that private cloud provides rather than the sheer number of server locations around the world. 

Also, with private cloud, companies are working with their own data center that’s firewall-protected (and sometimes even physically secured) with zero latency. When a private cloud is also fully managed, it becomes a valuable proposition for most app developers.


Most AWS products have a variable pay-as-you-go pricing model. This made starting out accessible to more app developers worldwide since they don’t need to spend on building out servers up front. At the same time, the costs per use are generally higher and quite volatile based on month-to-month projections. An occasional spike in usage with AWS can quickly overspend your planned IT budget.

Although private cloud hosting can be very flexible in terms of available resources as well, it sets up your environment based on the amount of resources needed from the start, which makes it much easier to manage price fluctuations and predict your TCO (total cost of ownership).


While you might think that AWS has no rivals when it comes to scaling rapidly, the reality is more nuanced. It’s true that AWS can support some of the largest applications in the world. However, 99 percent of app developers starting out would see practically no difference between scaling their AWS instances and increasing resource availability while using a private cloud.

What’s more, since private cloud service is fully managed, scaling can be done correctly by professional technicians. This optimized scalability saves on costs vs the public cloud while providing the required resources.

Ease of Use 

When AWS was first released, it presented a much simpler solution compared to what had been available before. Today, companies that work with AWS often require a dedicated DevOps team to manage their AWS infrastructure. Migrating to AWS can be a complicated project on its own with little to no help offered by the service itself. 

In contrast, moving to private cloud is easy and can be done through a tailored migration option, depending on the infrastructure that’s been used before. What’s more, by building their apps on a private cloud, app developers at small and medium-sized businesses can save resources since they can use a managed hosting solution on their own, only occasionally reaching out to the provider’s DevOps team for help.


Due to its size, AWS can’t compete with the quality and speed of customer service that private cloud hosting provides.

AWS users get Basic Support for free, which can take days to resolve urgent issues. Developer support of 12 hours costs at least $29. Upgrading to a one-hour response would cost $100 a month. Even at the Enterprise tier of $15,000, the guaranteed response time is 15 minutes.

Compare that to a VMware Private Cloud hosting provider like Liquid Web, where a 59-second live chat or phone call response any day of the year is guaranteed to all users.

When you’re just starting out as an app developer, challenges with configuring a hosting environment are quite common, so having a provider that you can instantly reach and offload the most demanding server work becomes invaluable.

Choose Smart — Develop Desktop Applications in Private Cloud

As you can see, both AWS and private cloud are viable options for desktop application development. However, contrary to the popular notion, AWS is the much more complex option of the two with fewer use cases for app developers at small-to-medium businesses. A private cloud, on the other hand, is accessible, affordable, and fully managed. 

Still have some doubts or questions related to AWS vs private cloud? Contact us, and one of our friendly technicians will be happy to help.

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About the Author

Tom Beaudoin

Tom Beaudoin is the Director of Development at Liquid Web. Tom has been with Liquid Web for almost a decade, helping to shape the My Liquid Web portal and digital properties into a world-class customer experience.

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