Businesses across every conceivable economic sector are either actively in the process of moving to the cloud or have already started using cloud computing or cloud storage. It’s fair to say that those who have not yet moved to the cloud are at least giving the idea some thought. However, there are different types of cloud to choose from and deciding which of these models best fit a particular business involves considering a number of different factors.
These considerations include determining exactly what applications and data they’d like to move, how critical they are to their core operations, any regulatory issues regarding their data, workload and perhaps most importantly of all, how to integrate cloud-based applications with other enterprise solutions.
Essentially, there are three different models of cloud computing or storage: public, private and hybrid. Read on for a comparison of the three, a brief discussion of their features and which types of applications each is best suited for.
Public—“Traditional” Cloud Computing
Public clouds are a model where the infrastructure and services involved are off-site and provided via the web. Public clouds are generally considered to be the most efficient for sharing resources, but by virtue of being public, they have some inherent security vulnerabilities which make them perhaps not the best choice for highly sensitive data or mission-critical applications. For more information on options for data security in the cloud, visit dell.com.
This cloud computing model is a good fit for email and other applications which are used by a large group of employees, software testing and development or other collaborative projects. Public clouds also make sense for deploying third party SaaS applications, provided that they’re secure enough for this type of platform. It’s also a good fit for businesses which need to be able to add additional computing capacity during times of peak workload.
IT departments are often deeply concerned about the security of public clouds and these fears may be founded in some cases. If you’re using public clouds, you’ll need to make a concerted effort to have strict security measures and a governance policy in place before deploying applications or storing important data on a public cloud. The cost of public clouds may be attractive, but it’s important to proceed with caution due to the risks involved.
Private clouds are highly secure, since the necessary infrastructure and software is internal. There is a higher cost associated with private clouds, since this critical infrastructure must be maintained in-house. However, it’s the obvious choice for businesses who operate under strict regulatory frameworks such as pharmaceutical companies as well as those that have mission-critical applications which they want to move to the cloud. Private clouds also provide a higher degree of flexibility in that the business is able to distribute workloads across their own servers according to workload.
Businesses whose core operations rely on their applications and data and need the highest possible level of security are ideal candidates for private clouds, as are companies with the resources to operate their own cloud data centers in a cost efficient manner.
Hybrid—A Blend of Both
Hybrid clouds can be a little confusing, involving multiple providers and both private and public options. Using a hybrid model to distribute data and applications over a hybrid cloud, however, allows businesses to compartmentalize its cloud operations by placing them where it makes the most sense. This is an advantage, but there are some disadvantages to hybrid clouds as well, most importantly that businesses then need to monitor several different security platforms and overcome the challenge of integrating these facets of their cloud strategy with one another.
A hybrid cloud makes sense when businesses want to keep most of their data and applications as private services, but also wants the option of increasing capacity during periods of peak demand. The hybrid cloud model is also a good choice for businesses with different services geared towards different vertical markets – in this case, a public cloud can be used for client interaction, with data being stored in a private cloud.
Hybrid clouds can be complex, although they offer a great deal of flexibility to businesses; the challenge becomes even greater when public and private clouds need to be managed along with conventional data centers. These arrangements are becoming increasingly common as businesses move to the cloud. Clearly, businesses will need to develop solutions for efficiently federating these data storage environments while still allowing all of the component pieces of their IT infrastructure to interoperate smoothly.
David Malmborg works with Dell. When he isn’t working he enjoys hiking, spending time with family and researching new technology. He is currently learning more about virtual desktops and recommends following this link for more information.