The cloud has become an integral part of modern life, having a pervasive influence on our daily activities and our sense of identity. From the apps on our phones, to the services on our computers, to the settings on our thermostats and TVs, everything is now accessible and manageable remotely via the cloud.
With cloud solutions becoming increasingly commonplace, companies must consider their implementation in order to remain competitive. When transitioning operations to the cloud for the first time, an important consideration is which type of cloud service best suits the company’s needs.
It is important to be aware that there are a variety of cloud architectures available. These include public clouds, private clouds, and a combination of the two. Each of these options come with their own advantages, however, not all organizations will benefit from utilizing all three.
So, let’s get that straightened up.
A definition of the cloud would be helpful.
It is likely that you are already familiar with cloud computing and the services it provides, as many of us utilize it via our smartphones. Cloud services allow us to store data, as well as utilize various compatible apps to manipulate that data.
The cloud is a vast network of servers scattered across the globe, each providing a specific function. This makes it ideal for commercial use, offering services such as data storage and management, application and content delivery, and more.
The cloud was originally intended to enable remote data storage and web application hosting (including services such as Google Drive, Calendar, and Docs). Nowadays, the cloud is much more than that; it enables organizations to create apps and services that can scale up automatically in response to demand.
It is clear that many businesses are now focusing on the three categories of cloud services mentioned above. Additionally, it is essential to select the cloud that is most suited to the company’s specific requirements, resources, and objectives. There are numerous different cloud options available, so careful consideration must be taken to ensure the best possible fit.
Let’s take a look at the various cloud options and figure out which one is ideal for your company.
Any member of the public can utilize a public cloud computing environment, with the option of either free or paid services. These public clouds are developed on the conventional cloud computing model, providing resources via the internet. The services provided by a public cloud are scalable, reliable and secure.
There are three primary service models that may be provided by public clouds.
- Subscribing to a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider allows users to access hosted software on a networked computer, either free of charge or by paying a subscription fee. Google Workspace is an example of such a platform, offering access to Google Drive, Google Calendar and Gmail.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – is a comprehensive development and deployment environment that is hosted in the cloud.
- Provides computing, storage, and networking capabilities on-demand; often known as “infrastructure as a service” (IaaS).
There are several advantages to using public clouds.
- Improved security.
- Establishment is fast and simple.
- Low to no upkeep.
- No long-term commitments.
- Massive scalability.
- Quickness and adaptability.
- Global reach.
- Longest possible availability.
- There is not a single chance of a failure happening.
Google’s suite of products, including Drive, Calendar and Gmail, is a prime example of a public cloud. Businesses often opt for Google Workspaces, as they are specifically tailored to meet their needs rather than those of the general public. Public clouds place a high emphasis on safety due to the large volume of user data they protect.
Additional examples of Public Cloud providers are:
- To Put It Simply, Amazon.com’s Web Services
- Windows Azure
- IBM Cloud
The next type of cloud computing environment is a private cloud. This is a service that is reserved for individual users or customers and can be accessed either on-premise (e.g. Nextcloud) or via the internet. The key difference between public and private clouds is that private clouds are not available for general use.
It’s also vital to note that a private cloud is only capable of supplying 2 cloud service models: IaaS and PaaS.
Alone, private clouds are unable to match the scalability of public clouds. However, it is possible to achieve a greater level of scalability through the use of a public cloud or a method called Cloud Bursting. Cloud bursting is when set resource and capacity thresholds are established, such that when they are met, an application operating on the private cloud is transferred to a more powerful public cloud.
Due to limited scalability, private clouds are usually employed for more modest deployments. For smaller organizations, an on-site private cloud is a great solution for internal use. Thanks to the numerous private cloud providers, there is no need for an IT team to set up and manage a full-scale cloud server. Examples of such companies offering private clouds include:
- Dell’s Cloud Computing Service
- The IBM Cloud on Bluemix
- Microsoft Cloud
- Technologies of Cisco
- Black Hat
- To Put It Simply, Amazon.com’s Web Services
The benefits of a private cloud include improved resource efficiency, cost savings, enhanced security, simplified adherence to regulations and increased flexibility.
Finally, the hybrid cloud provides organizations with greater flexibility in deployment by combining public cloud services with private cloud infrastructure hosted on-site. Orchestration software is used to facilitate communication between the public and private clouds, allowing workloads to be moved between them based on availability, performance and cost considerations. This provides organization with more choices in terms of deployment.
Implementing a hybrid cloud infrastructure requires more effort than either public or private cloud deployment. To do so effectively, a company must have the appropriate resources in place. These include, but are not limited to:
- An IaaS platform to act as the public cloud.
- In-house private cloud computing.
- Adequate WAN connection with ample of bandwidth between the public and private clouds.
A significant disadvantage of the hybrid cloud is that companies have no control over the public cloud elements. This means that the responsibility for ensuring interoperability between private and public clouds lies solely with the private sector. There are various challenges to be addressed before the two can be integrated. Therefore, it is essential that a compatibility layer is successfully established so that private and public clouds can communicate with each other.
Features such as these must be included in the private cloud’s software compatibility layer.
- Orchestration and automation
Despite the extra complexity, a hybrid cloud might be a better fit for a company’s requirements than either a public or private cloud.
The advantages of a hybrid cloud include:
- Saved money.
- The capacity to scale while maintaining fine-grained command has been enhanced.
- Quickness and adaptability.
- Uptime and reliability in business operations.
- Increased safety.
- Smarter handling of potential dangers.
- Less expensive hardware.
Of fact, the advantages seldom exceed the difficulties of properly establishing a hybrid cloud.
Which Cloud Provider Is Best for My Company?
The answer to this question is relatively straightforward. For those requiring scalability and cost-effectiveness, a public cloud is likely the best choice. Alternatively, those needing tighter security measures may prefer a private cloud option. Finally, organizations with the necessary IT capabilities may benefit from a hybrid cloud solution that offers a combination of both.
There are a range of options available to you, and the decision you make regarding your cloud storage solution can have a significant impact on the success of your business in a competitive market. Taking the time to do your research and make an informed decision now can ensure that your chosen solution is reliable and fit for purpose for years to come.