Cloud services, while being quite flexible and useful for streamlining your computing and IT needs, still have details and specifics that must be addressed. When it comes to Cloud there is no ‘one size fits all’, and not all Clouds are equally effective for every organisation or company. In fact, there are three primary ways to deploy Cloud services – Public Cloud, Private Cloud, a combination of each (Hybrid or Multi) Cloud.
Public Clouds are owned and operated by Cloud service providers. The biggest providers today are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). In any such public Cloud, all hardware, software, infrastructure, and services are managed and owned by the provider. These capabilities or services are hired (consumed) as needed and all services such as servers and storage are accessed and delivered over a network – usually the internet.
Public Clouds are generally built on ‘shared’ infrastructure and can be very flexible, reliable and cost-effective. Being shared IT they are designed for the masses so they may not always provide you with the flexibility, or allow the customisation, that your organisation requires. In many cases the 80/20 rule applies and an organisation may forego certain features or functionality that would otherwise be available in a private Cloud.
Private clouds are exactly as the term implies — a private Cloud is typically used exclusively by a single organisation. A private Cloud can be physically located on-premise in a company’s own data centre or it can be hosted in a data centre owned and operated by a specialist third-party provider such as Equinix. Private Clouds operated by a third-party provide all services via a private network rather than over the internet.
Hybrid Cloud, sometimes referred to as Multi Cloud (when there are more than two Clouds in play), is currently rising to become the dominant deployment model. It consists of both public and private Clouds that are integrated to allow data and applications to be shared and deployed wherever they are needed at the time. This provides businesses with a greater sense of flexibility by providing more options and avoiding being tied to a single service provider or vendor.
Hybrid environments also allow organisations to use and extend existing enterprise IT management capabilities which are traditionally found in-house through to the public infrastructure. This allows the organisation to leverage their existing investments in IT infrastructure, security, process and compliance.
The key takeaway – Hybrid (or Multi) Cloud provides an organisation with the most flexible and cost-effective Cloud environment without being locked into a specific vendor.
To seamlessly move data between clouds a Data Fabric can be very beneficial. It is essentially a combination of data services that ‘stitch’ Cloud services together providing you with a consistent management interface. The term was initially coined about six years ago by George Kurian, CEO of NetApp – a leading global data management & storage provider.
Cloud computing is a huge and at times confusing topic with many nuances and factors to consider.