Spoiled for choice: private, public, and hybrid clouds compared
A properly designed and delivered cloud system can be a remedy for all kinds of IT challenges, with benefits that every business can enjoy. First, companies need to determine which data and applications can relocate to the cloud, and which are better left within the company. Then they can make an informed decision when choosing their cloud model and provider.
An IDC study from 2015 states that use of private and public clouds will continue to increase in the future: Spending on both public and private cloud computing is expected to rise by 13 percent each year until 2017. Yet many companies choose neither the private nor the public cloud option. Most often, hybrid cloud solutions seem to be the more popular alternative. These solutions allow businesses to combine the best of both cloud worlds: Existing IT resources can be extended and additional storage can be booked flexibly whenever it is needed.
Cloud computing objectives for businesses
Looking at the distribution of preferences for the different cloud models, it becomes clear that companies are increasingly leaning towards hybrid cloud solutions (36 percent). The hybrid model is closely followed by the private cloud, with 32 percent, while the public cloud comes in far behind at 17 percent. These are the results of a 2015 IDG Connect study. At the same time, however, companies are encountering several obstacles that are complicating their migration to the cloud. Some 55 percent say they have security concerns, and 47 percent are afraid that their applications won’t run smoothly in the cloud. Another 45 percent lack the required level of staff qualification, while 44 percent are put off by the costs.
A closer look at the cloud models
Which cloud model is the best? This question has triggered many a heated discussion in the last few years.
The private cloud infrastructure is specifically designed for businesses. Data and applications are either located in their own data centers or hosted by a cloud provider. Private cloud supporters believe that this model offers the highest degree of control, security, and privacy. Furthermore, the company has full control over where its data is stored. However, while the private cloud is great for specific applications requiring an economic yet scalable solution, heavy workloads are still maintained in-house or on dedicated infrastructure from service providers.
The public cloud, on the other hand, is ideal for analyzing large datasets. This model is also commonly used as storage for less important data. The option to flexibly book or cancel storage is what makes the public cloud less expensive than the private cloud. Thus, even small businesses can make use of this cloud system, reduce costs, and speed up working tasks. Compared to having their own data center, small and medium-sized businesses benefit from the levels of security, flexibility, and efficiency of the public cloud.
The hybrid cloud concept combines most features of both the public and private approaches. This model enables companies to better deal with seasonal fluctuations in their daily business. The local infrastructure can be adjusted to the normal working conditions while at the same time enhancing the public cloud computing power and storage according to demand. After the peak season, the no longer required resources can be reduced again. This is a lot cheaper than reserving dedicated capacities and computing power that aren’t needed most of the time. Therefore, the hybrid cloud offers more flexibility and savings than booking a public and a private cloud separately. However, it is sometimes advisable to keep business-critical applications in a company’s own data center – in certain cases, it is even required by law. When more and more use is made of the cloud, the hybrid approach will enable IT teams to benefit most by improving overall business efficiency and flexibility.
Private, public, or hybrid: The model companies eventually choose also depends on their specific IT requirements, legal issues, and future plans.
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