Whether they know it or not, most organizations, large or small, are using the public cloud. However, there are several compelling reasons why a private cloud might be in their best interest:
- Better long-term ROI. Many people initially think building a private cloud infrastructure is too expensive, and while the initial investment in upfront infrastructure and capital equipment is larger, the operating costs drop significantly thereafter. In fact, even leasing a private cloud versus building the infrastructure is more cost-feasible. In our financial analysis of public versus private cloud models, we found that the three-year cumulative total investment for a public cloud can be almost double that of a private cloud computing model.
- Data security management. Data is the life-blood of many organizations. A private cloud allows you keep sensitive data behind your firewall and outside the public domain. Migrating data to a private cloud is easy, and it remains safe and secure (to the extent that your private network is secure). That’s why a private cloud computing model is the only cloud choice for companies with data compliance mandates.
- High availability. Because you have greater control over a private cloud infrastructure than a public cloud environment, you can build in better redundancy and backup. We’ve all heard stories of public cloud outages – Amazon in particular – which have, in some cases, temporarily shuttered small businesses dependent on access to information.
- Greater flexibility. Because you own the equipment, you can configure it to your liking. You can shift workloads to different servers based on spikes in volume or usage, or when you deploy new applications. With a public cloud model, you don’t own the equipment so determining workloads is left out of your hands.
At the end of the day, the decision to use a public cloud computing model or building your own private cloud infrastructure comes down to your organization’s unique needs and requirements. Beyond the four benefits of a private cloud above, here are some additional considerations:
- Amount of Data – How much data are you planning to store in the cloud? Remember, with a public cloud you’ll pay per GB, but with a private cloud you’ll need to purchase your resources.
- Longevity of Data – How long will you need to store your data? Are there industry requirements that dictate how long you need to hold on to data? What considerations are there for storing your data in the cloud?
- Required Performance – What do you need your IT infrastructure to do and how well does it need to be done? If you’re in need of computing resources as a core, mission-critical business function, then each option needs to be weighed accordingly.
- Access Patterns and Locations – How global is your business? This can determine where you locate your resources for optimal performance.
- Service Level Agreements – How important is ‘uptime’ to your business operations? Cloud outages affect a lot of businesses. What would it do to yours? If data access is critical, then you’ll need to consider backup or redundancy plans carefully.
- In-House Technical Resources – Do you have the technical resources available in-house to operate and maintain your private cloud? If not, this will be something you need to consider in your investment modeling.
At the end of the day, the importance of these benefits and considerations to your organizations will help determine what cloud computing model is best for you. Is it a private cloud infrastructure? A public cloud? Or is it a hybrid cloud?