By 2018, at least according to a Gartner report half of the IT spending will be cloud based. So I thought I would write a series of articles on “Unlock the Cloud”. We will tackle cloud terms widely used, but often misunderstood: public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud. We will look at Cloud Services, and Cloud interconnection strategies.
The word “cloud” defines shared, automated hardware or software services that offer customers a high degree of resource scalability, elasticity and self-service. Using the cloud is a lot like using a utility like electricity. Rather than spending a lot of time, capital and resources purchasing, configuring and managing their own hardware and software, customers provision, orchestrate and scale IT resources in the cloud, paying for only what they use, when they use it.
Public Cloud: Do you need a quick, cost-efficient way to ramp up and down software test beds, offload applications such as e-mail or customer relationship management, or cover seasonal spikes in customer usage? Consider using a public cloud service.
A public cloud describes a third-party provider of infrastructure, platform, storage or application cloud services ̶ such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Dropbox or Salesforce. These services rent shared hardware and/or software resources to organizations and individuals as a pay-as-you-play service. Public cloud services also come in a variety of types, which we will discuss in another post.
Private Cloud: Do your in-house customers need the agility and elasticity advantages of the public cloud, but with more stringent control, customization, security and compliance capabilities? Consider a private cloud, which may be managed by your organization or an outside service via a private network connection, with hardware and software specifically assigned to your organization only.
Private clouds allow more customization than public clouds. However, private clouds may require a lot of organizational investment up front and internal IT resources to run. As with public clouds, private cloud resources are shared among internal departments and users, allowing users to self-provision and scale hardware or software resources as needed. Private clouds that are shared among different organizations in a closed environment, such as agencies in a state government, are sometimes called a community cloud.
Hybrid Clouds: Are you looking for the best of both clouds? Hybrid clouds combine at least one public and private cloud to deliver a particular IT service(s). Organizations may want to run an application entirely or partially in the public cloud but keep its sensitive data in a more secure private cloud. Or they may run an application internally, but “burst” it out automatically to a public cloud during peak demand periods. The latter is very cost-efficient, making it unnecessary to purchase and manage all the necessary hardware and software real estate for those occasional peak loads.
Multi-cloud describes a number of public and/or private cloud services used to deliver a single enterprise service, such as big data analysis or applications with multiple components. Hybrid clouds are a subcategory of multi-cloud, which has become a popular choice with enterprises. Nearly half of the respondents that were surveyed are currently pursuing a multi-cloud strategy. By 2020, 86% of those companies will have deployed multiple clouds across multiple locations.
“The Cloud” can be confusing but we will continue to offer clarity in this series on “Unlock the Cloud”.