Cloud adoption is on the rise. According to Tech Week Europe, adoption in the UK has finally topped 80 percent — research from the Cloud Industry Forum found that 84 percent of all businesses in the country now use at least one cloud service. What the report doesn’t mention is the fundamental question every business must face when moving to the cloud: Which type? Is a public cloud your best bet, or should you go private? What about hybrid clouds? Here’s a quick rundown on the benefits and applications of each:
Your first benefit is low bar to entry — if you’re a small business you can easily find services offering free trials and low-cost pricing plans to suit your needs. As noted by Tech Target, public clouds also excel when it comes to workload scaling. You get the benefit of multiple servers ready to scale in response to compute needs, are charged only for the resources used, and you don’t have to pay for any of the hardware.
Business continuity is another key benefit of the public cloud. By using multiple servers to host and back up your data, even a total disaster at the local network level won’t put you out of business. In fact, many public continuity solutions can keep critical workloads running as you work to restore secondary systems. Tech Republic points out that to achieve this kind of elastic performance and continuity, using a private model requires a significant amount of over provisioning; public clouds offer these features as a function of their basic architecture.
Why go public? If this is your first cloud deployment, you need scalability without the cost of hardware or if business continuity and recovery time objectives (RTOs) are among your top priorities.
The case for private clouds, meanwhile, stems from performance — and it all starts with SLAs. In a public cloud environment, for example, agreements between client and provider are generic and applicable to all service users. Using a private cloud, however, allows you to create an SLA that defines specific cloud outcomes, performance standards, and spells out key provider responsibilities. Plus, since all resources in a private cloud are reserved for your use, it’s possible to migrate bandwidth-intensive applications such as VoIP, video chat or virtual desktop environments.
Security is another key benefit of going private, since all data still resides within your network and all cloud traffic is subject to your existing data protection policies. You’re also insulated from threats such as DDoS attacks, which could bring down public clouds and all clients attached to the service. In addition, compliance is easier in a private cloud since none of your documents are placed outside of existing network infrastructure, allowing you to retain existing compliance mechanisms.
Why choose private? If SLA-driven performance, data security and compliance are your focus, then this is the resource to consider.
If you’re looking for a balance of public and private benefits, hybrid may be your best choice. According to Mashable, while 13 percent of enterprises use multiple public clouds and 14 percent use multiple private clouds, 55 percent are using some combination of both. What’s the benefit? Properly implemented you get the scalability of public resource with the security of private servers. Hybrid clouds are ideal for companies that can split their data into sensitive and non-sensitive sets and have highly dynamic workloads. There is one caveat for going hybrid — the “edges” where public and private clouds meet must be well maintained to deliver consistent performance and ensure data remains secure when crossing the boundary.
Which cloud is right for your business? Public offers scalability, private offers performance. Hybrid offers both if you’re up for the challenge.
About the Author: John Grady is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at XO Communications. XO Communications is a nationwide provider of Communications and IT Infrastructure services. At XO, John has been responsible for launching multiple products including several new cloud products and XO’s Intelligent WAN solution.