Three Considerations for Public and Private Cloud Computing

Posted by Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist
April 2, 2014

While cloud computing solutions continue to grow in popularity, many companies are still asking, “Is a public or private cloud the right option for me?”

According to Cloud Tech News, the cloud market is expected to grow to $121 billion by 2015, which suggests a 26 percent annual growth rate. A good chunk of this growth is expected to be in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service sector (IaaS), where businesses host their own SaaS environment and other critical infrastructure or application environments. This private cloud computing option has many advantages over public cloud computing, especially for larger companies who can afford the expense.

With public cloud computing, you’ll need to worry about...

  1. Potentially slow connections and latency. Data transfer rates from the public cloud provider to your organization is based on Internet speeds, so your application speed or data availability is limited.
  2. Potentially weaker security. While public cloud providers certainly provide security, their SLAs will most certainly not make any concrete guarantees. If your organization handles sensitive data, such as healthcare records, credit card information, you may want to rethink public cloud usage.
  3. Lack of control. Larger companies that rely on particular applications for their businesses or that require consistent access to data need to ask themselves if public cloud providers can support those requirements. Questions might include:
  • Do they have a disaster recovery plan? If so, can you see it?
  • Can they provide documentation of their uptime for this year and last year?
  • How do they communicate problems, outages, and fixes to their customers?
  • How are backups implemented and how long is your data kept?
  • Who has access to your data and/or the hardware on which it’s running?
  • How is redundancy implemented within their environment?
  • Do they have spare disk drives, servers, power supplies, and internet circuits?
  • Do you have full ownership of your data?

These are just a few questions you need to ask when thinking about a public cloud computing solution. (For more, check out this blog).

With private cloud computing there’s...

  1. Better long-term ROI. While the initial investment in upfront infrastructure and capital equipment is larger, the operating costs drop significantly thereafter, making a private cloud computing investment a much better choice. You might check out some financial comparisons we did to help you make your choice.
  2. 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) behind your IT walls. That’s why a private cloud computing model is the only cloud choice for companies with data compliance mandates.
  3. 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, shuttered small businesses dependent on access to information.

Which cloud computing solution infrastructure you ultimately choose certainly comes down to cost, need, and your expected use of the cloud. Consider your options carefully and make the smart decision with these considerations in mind.

About Dustin Smith Throughout his twenty-year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist, Dustin is responsible for the strategic direction of aligning the company’s growing consulting services with the client challenges he finds in the field, and he works closely with his regional architects to design new programs to address these issues.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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