Ah yes, the cloud. We’ve all heard of it, and we probably all have some kind of an idea of what it is, but did you know that there’s more than one type of cloud? Read on and let us explain.
In simple terms (according to Wikipedia) the cloud is “the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user”, and within this there are three types of services; public, private and hybrid.
Public clouds are the most common way of deploying cloud computing. Its resources, such as servers and storage, are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and are delivered over the internet.
In a public cloud you share the same hardware, storage and network devices with other business or cloud “tenants”, and you access the services and manage your account using a web browser. (see our recent blog talking about the Azure cloud)
Public cloud deployments are frequently used to provide web-based email, online office applications, storage, and testing and development environments.
Some of the advantages of a public cloud are:
- Lower costs: no need to purchase hardware or software, and you only pay for the service you use
- No maintenance: your service provider looks after all of that
- Near-unlimited scalability: on-demand resources are available to meet your business needs
- High reliability: a vast network of servers ensures against failure.
Private clouds are computing resources used exclusively by one business; which means that it can be physically located at either your own on-site data centre or hosted by a third-party IT service provider.
With this the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to your company. The upshot of this is that it’s easier for businesses to customise their resources to meet specific IT requirements.
Private clouds are often used by government agencies, financial institutions and any other medium to large-sized organisations with business-critical operations seeking enhanced control over their environment.
As with the public cloud there are numerous advantages:
- More flexibility: your organisation can customise its cloud environment to meet specific business needs
- Improved security: resources are not shared with others, so higher levels of control and security are possible
- High scalability: private clouds still afford the scalability and efficiency of a public cloud.
Often called “the best of both worlds”, hybrid clouds combine on-premises infrastructure, or private clouds, with public ones so that businesses can reap the advantages of both.
In a hybrid cloud, data and applications can move between private and public clouds for greater flexibility and more deployment options. For instance, you can use the public cloud for high-volume, lower-security needs such as web-based email, and the private cloud (or other on-premises infrastructure) for sensitive, business-critical operations such as financial reporting.
In a hybrid cloud, “cloud bursting” is also an option. This is when an application or resource runs in the private cloud until there is a spike in demand (such as a seasonal event like online shopping or tax filing), at which point the organisation can “burst through” to the public cloud to tap into additional computing resources.
Hybrid clouds also have many advantages:
- Control: your business can maintain a private infrastructure for sensitive assets
- Flexibility: you can take advantage of additional resources in the public cloud when you need them
- Cost-effectiveness: with the ability to scale to the public cloud, you pay for extra computing power only when needed
- Ease: transitioning to the cloud doesn’t have to be overwhelming because you can migrate gradually phasing in workloads over time.
The type of cloud that best suits your business depends on several factors such as the size of your company, the market it operates in, your budget and even the level of in-house technical knowledge.
If you’d like to know more and discuss your cloud options, feel free to call and speak to one of our specialists on 0333 241 9301 or click the button below and we’ll arrange to call you.