When our engineering teams speak to customers about their cloud computing plans, the conversations largely depend on the customers’ levels of in-house technical expertise. We often find that the more technical expertise they have, the greater their resistance to public cloud computing solutions. Naturally, the tech savvy are familiar with the security concerns inherent with public clouds, and they’re also aware of their vanishing network perimeter and the consequences of shadow IT.
Regardless of in-house technical expertise, customers and prospects want to know which cloud computing deployment option is best for them. While our analysis usually indicates that hybrid cloud deployments are likely the best solution, everyone should understand the strengths of each.
Private Cloud Computing – To build a private cloud, you need to supply your own hardware. Your data will sit behind your corporate firewalls, so you’ll directly control and manage the data exposure. When you need to scale your cloud, you just add another server, and the architecture expands by adding performance and capacity. Private clouds are typically located on-premise or within the walls of your data center provider.
Public Cloud Computing – For a public cloud, you’ll choose a public cloud service provider, usually available through an Internet connection. Cloud computing as a service typically will cost you a monthly usage fee per GB, in addition to bandwidth charges. However, the service providers manage the infrastructure and pool resources, so you can scale on-demand, without the need to purchase additional hardware infrastructure. As far as security, your data will sit in a publicly exposed cloud, so data security depends on the service provider’s level of security, precautions, and defenses. As you might expect, public clouds are most often located off-premise.
Hybrid Cloud Computing – Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds, located both on and off-premise. Some data resides on a private cloud, while other data resides on a public cloud. Cloud and data security depends on both companies’ internal security controls and those of the cloud provider.
Which cloud computing solution is right for you and your company? To choose, you’ll need to consider and balance a variety of factors, including:
- Initial Investment – Each deployment option has initial investments that vary, and the expected ROI to understand how this initial IT investment can pay off in the long run.
- Amount of Data – How much data are you planning on storing 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?
- 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 need your resources located for optimal performance.
- Security and Confidentiality – This is the big one! Cloud and data security vary tremendously across your deployment options, so be sure to understand what’s at stake.
- Service Level Agreements – How important is ‘uptime’ to your business operations? Recent Amazon cloud outages affected a lot of businesses. What would it have done to yours?
- In-House Technical Resources – Do you have the technical resources available in-house to operate and maintain your private cloud?
Armed with the right information, building a smart cloud computing infrastructure using a combination of the three – or hybrid cloud – might just be your best bet.