A cloud is a cloud is a cloud

November 9th, 2012 by - 4,297 views

There is no longer any doubt that the cloud is rapidly gaining momentum in the private sector as companies try to deploy technologies capable of enhancing efficiency without dramatically increasing expenses. While many decision-makers agree that cloud computing yields a number of benefits, the extent of these advantages often corresponds to which model is chosen: public, private or hybrid.

Cost reduction is usually one of the primary drivers for companies that move to the cloud, especially in today’s economic state. However, some cloud models may deliver greater opportunity for savings than others, and decision-makers need to balance the pros and cons of each option, according to a report by Virtual-Strategy Magazine.

A cloud is a cloud is a cloud

“A growing number of organizations worldwide are seeing the value of cloud computing as a way of increasing IT flexibility and lowering in-house infrastructure costs,” said Kyle MacDonald, cloud expert at Canonical, according to the news source. “However, achieving the right blend of security, control and cost efficiency depends on choosing the right public or private infrastructure – or the right balance of both.”

The private cloud
Security is one of the most controversial topics regarding the cloud, as many skeptics are unsure whether the hosted environment can keep confidential resources safe. For this reason, many companies responsible for managing highly sensitive information implement a private cloud structure, as IT departments can keep data and solutions within dedicated servers protected behind a specific firewall, Virtual-Strategy Magazine noted.

Furthermore, private clouds, unlike their public counterparts, only host a single tenant. As a result, decision-makers can customize the environments and even incorporate unique disaster recovery and business continuity strategies.

Despite these advantages, however, the private cloud has one major disadvantage to the public version: capacity. Unlike the infinitely scalable public cloud, the private model often has a ceiling relative to the dedicated number of physical servers responsible for maintaining the cloud, the news source noted.

Looking outside the private cloud
Similar to the private model, the public cloud is often capable of delivering significant cost savings and efficiency improvement opportunities for businesses smart enough to wield them. These benefits are sometimes even more substantial than the private cloud because public environments are managed off-site and host a number of tenants, meaning decision-makers can leverage solutions at a competitive price while avoiding maintaining expensive on-site servers, Virtual-Strategy Magazine reported.

Since IT departments are not forced to create an internal cloud infrastructure, the environment is much more scalable, meaning employees can operate with top performance at all times, regardless of traffic. This characteristic makes the public cloud ideal for organizations that regularly have high volume workloads.

While the multi-tenant environment may introduce cost-savings and productivity advantages, the other side of the coin may present some challenges. Since the public cloud hosts multiple users, security is often a big concern, Virtual-Magazine noted. Unless otherwise defined in the service-level agreement, customers won’t have any control over their infrastructure.

Taking the plunge
A separate report by Market Research Media said the global cloud computing market is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent from 2015 through 2020, at which point it will generate roughly $270 billion in revenue. This suggests that the cloud is quickly garnering attention, despite any potential risks.

In the end, managers need to determine how sensitive their data is and how robust security strategies should be before choosing a cloud model. Executives also need to consider day-to-day operations and whether one cloud may be more advantageous than another. If a decision cannot be reached, a business can always deploy a hybrid cloud, which combines the best of both worlds.

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