A few years ago, the idea of moving all of your IT infrastructure to the cloud was dismissed as just a trend that would soon fade away. The reality, however, is that cloud computing—when planned effectively, implemented properly, and managed with the right vendor—can offer huge financial and operational advantages over traditional data centers.
As this new reality sets in, more attention is being paid to the different types of cloud offerings that organizations can choose from to virtualize their infrastructure. One of the biggest choices to be made is whether to stand up a private cloud environment or to leverage a public cloud.
A private cloud is a solution that utilizes hardware, software, and other computing resources that are solely for one organization. This infrastructure could be hosted at an off-site location and managed in-house or provided by a third-party vendor with contracted managed services. On the other hand, public cloud IT services are remotely offered and shared across multiple tenants via the same network connection. Data is segmented, but the public cloud provider takes on the role of managing, maintaining, and scaling the services as their customers and the technology evolve.
Each camp has its advocates, but the decision ultimately comes down to the requirements and preferences of the organization itself. The purpose of this article is to help you understand the differences between the two paths so you can make the right decision.
The Public Cloud
When people talk about “the cloud,” they are often referring to the public cloud. The benefits of the public cloud for organizations are many, but the real differentiators are high scalability to changes in workload over time, reduced operating costs and complexity because maintenance is handled by a services vendor, and flexibility in price options based on different SLA levels or needs, such as availability or issue response time. Because, by its design, the public cloud is shared across multiple organizations, the total cost of ownership can also be lower because the investment costs are shared across customers.
On the other hand, the public cloud has some limitations that need to be considered. If your organization has proprietary or sensitive business or customer data, the public cloud could be limiting in the number of security and availability controls available. Additionally, maintenance of the equipment and services will be the responsibility of a third-party provider, and access to the data is dependent on a strong and reliable network connection. Both of these can also be, in part, shared.
The Private Cloud
The private cloud is appealing because it is dedicated for use by only one organization. All of the data center resources and infrastructure are delivered via a secure private network and are isolated from other data, much like having services on-premise, but in a geographically diverse location. Because of this, the private cloud is highly customizable to meet security, compliance, and availability requirements while also offering great visibility and control into its health and maintenance, given the dedicated nature of its operation and staff.
However, with this enhanced control and higher level of service comes a higher price tag that is the responsibility of your organization alone. Similarly, as changes in resources or availability are required, the costs, timing, and effort of these changes are driven by your organization alone, but can be supported by vendor services.
Making the Decision
So, what does this all mean? If your organization needs a predictable level of computer services to enable email, requires access to applications and services for everyday business, and has a desire to lower resource and operating costs in peak periods or for ongoing maintenance, the public cloud is a great choice.
On the other hand, if your organization desires (or is required to have) dedicated and secure environments separated from other organizations, the private cloud is a better fit. Private cloud services can also be staffed by your own employees for extra control, or ongoing security, updates, and maintenance can be contracted at agreed-upon levels with penalties if these standards are not met.
Consider a Third Option
But what if your organization needs the benefits of both the public and private cloud? In that case, many organizations decide to implement a third option: the hybrid cloud model. Instead of parking your data and software in one or the other of the above options, a hybrid mix gives your organization more flexibility for a tailored solution in the private cloud and the scalability and cost savings of the public cloud. This could be a great solution for organizations that have sensitive corporate or customer data that they want to keep separate, but also have other public-facing services with variable demands.
Whether you are just beginning down the path toward a cloud solution or evaluating your options for the future, reach out to FNTS to benefit from their experience in cloud services.