In its Computerworld Forecast 2015, IDG Research reports that cloud projects are by far the largest budget initiatives companies are undertaking. In fact, 42 percent of IT managers say they’ll increase spending on cloud solutions this year.
For cloud computing, it’s no longer if or even when, but which cloud solution your company will adopt.
From its origins as storage for files and websites, the cloud is now host to everything from databases and applications to desktop and server infrastructures.
Consumers and small businesses most often use the public cloud. Larger, more security-conscious companies favor private cloud hosting. But the hybrid cloud – a strategic combination of public and private – is becoming a mainstay.
With each having its own advantages, which type of cloud hosting is right for your company?
The public option
When you opt for public cloud hosting, you’re relying on a third party to provide the infrastructure. They provide the datacenter, virtual servers, storage and even some of the software applications. Of course, you can use the server, but the overall management of the environment falls to the provider.
The advantages of the public cloud are simplicity, low cost and elasticity. The cloud provider can deploy a new server, often within minutes. They have an ample server farm and a technical staff to make everything go smoothly. And when you need more computing power, it’s there on demand.
The downside is that your services – and your data – are delivered to you via the public Internet. In other words, your IT team doesn’t control the connections to your hosted solution.
Keeping it private
If your industry has stringent compliance and privacy regulations, you might not want to host your infrastructure in the public cloud.
A private cloud addresses those security concerns, because it is implemented within your corporate firewall. You own the physical servers on which the cloud runs, as well as the network space between them. This gives you the flexibility of cloud architecture, but control remains with corporate IT.
Private clouds are expensive compared to their public cousins. Owning and maintaining the hardware in-house leaves little room for equipment savings. And if you have a fulltime IT staff, you’ll incur the costs of maintaining your cloud, too.
Handling infrequent “burst” situations – spikes in usage – requires maintaining far more computing resources than are needed for normal use. Unlike the public cloud, the private cloud is elastic only within its finite resources. Sadly, most of the time these expensive resources sit idle.
Regardless, the tighter control provided by a well-managed private cloud remains a key advantage to many businesses.
The hybrid cloud – best of both worlds?
Though expensive to maintain, the private cloud better satisfies security-conscious companies. However, it lacks the infinite elasticity of the public cloud.
Hosting in a hybrid cloud addresses the public cloud’s lack of security and the private cloud’s lack of resource elasticity.
In a hybrid environment, your mission-critical data and applications remain on the company’s private cloud. The non-sensitive information can reside in the public cloud. That lets IT maintain control over your private assets, while providing flexible storage and handling of the rest.
With the hybrid cloud, you can handle occasional bursts of traffic without maintaining a lot of rarely used equipment. A hybrid solution adds and releases computing resources from the public cloud as needed. You only pay for the resources you use, when you use them.
As you like it, flexible and secure
The advantages of the public cloud include lower cost and greater elasticity. But hosting in a private cloud better addresses your organization’s security concerns.
A hybrid cloud combines the flexibility of the public cloud with the security of a private cloud, allowing IT to stay in control.
If your industry requires stringent handling of private data, it makes sense to maintain a private cloud. However, close analysis of your infrastructure can reveal which computing resources don’t require such constraints. Move those applications and data to the public cloud, and your new hybrid environment can cut the cost of maintaining one big private cloud.