Drawn by the appeal of scalability, elasticity, and adaptability, more businesses are migrating their data and applications to a cloud environment. However, deploying a cloud platform can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few months. With such a wide range of possibilities for your business, it’s critical to understand the differences and benefits behind each cloud environment to leverage and deploy the most useful cloud computing solution for your business.
While some cloud providers offer one-size-fits-all cloud services, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to work with your needs and align with your goals. In this blog, we focus on the three primary cloud environments – public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud – along with their benefits, and challenges to help you select the ideal cloud solution for your business.
The Public Cloud
When you hear someone mention the cloud, they’re most likely referring to a public cloud. When you use a public cloud service, your data and applications are stored on one or more servers at an off-site data center. Your public cloud service provider decides how resources are managed, allocated, balanced, and stored. However, your sensitive data remains isolated from other everyone else’s data, so security breaches are rare.
Benefits of a Public Cloud
Advantages of operating on a public cloud environment include:
- Rapid deployment
- On-demand server resources
- No upfront capital investment
- Minimal overhead
- No maintenance required
- No long-term contracts
In short, if your business is looking to migrate to the cloud as quickly as possible with minimal hassle, a public cloud platform is likely the way to go. The on-demand resources and ease of deployment make public cloud services and ideal solution for the majority of small to medium-sized businesses, especially as the first move towards cloud computing. At the same time, if on down the road you decide to branch away from the public cloud, you have virtually no capital tied up in infrastructure, so you can transition to a new computer network solution as cost-effectively as possible.
Challenges of a Public Cloud
As with just about everything, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that there are some challenges associated with a public cloud environment. However, almost all of the problems you’re likely to encounter with a public cloud service come in the form of limitations.
As previously mentioned, your information, data, and server resources are all based out of one or more off-site data center. While this adds an additional layer of security in the event that you ever need to streamline disaster recovery, you give up how much control you have over how your data is stored, managed, and how resources are shared with other users.
While data breaches on the public cloud are rare, you’re entrusting your data to a third-party service provider, so there’s no guarantee that it will remain secure. That means if you work in an industry with strict compliance requirements, you may not be able to store certain information or run specific programs on public cloud servers.
One solution to this problem is a hosted private cloud. You have the same flexibility of an off-site data center with the added security of an isolated server environment. A hosted private cloud provider may even allow you more control over how your server is managed.
The Private Cloud
Private cloud services closely resemble the public cloud environment. However, the critical difference is that data is stored on your own in-house servers instead of at an off-site data center.
A hosted private cloud is a cloud model whereby your service provider hosts your cloud environment on a private server environment out of their own facility. This allows you the customization and flexibility of a private cloud without the on-site infrastructure investment.
Benefits of a Private Cloud
A private cloud solution offers your organization added control, customization, and security while still leveraging the flexibility of the cloud. If you operate in a sector that requires additional layers of protection to stay compliant, a private cloud environment offers the solution you’re looking for.
Deploying a private cloud offers benefits like:
- Better long-term investment
- Maximum control over resources
- Ensured compliance
Challenges of a Private Cloud
One of the most common concerns with a private cloud platform is that your business has to actively manage servers and resources. Your IT department has to absorb the cost of infrastructure upgrades, ongoing maintenance, updates, and long-term management. As a result, a private cloud requires additional full-time staff and capital investment that a public cloud provider would absorb.
A private cloud environment doesn’t offer the same on-demand elasticity and scalability as a private cloud. If you want to upgrade server resources, you’ll have to invest in upgrading the server infrastructure itself. It may take days or weeks before your team can start utilizing those additional resources. Unlike public pay-as-you-go models, if you don’t end up using all of your resources for a given month, you’re still absorbing the same cost.
To summarize, the typical disadvantages of private cloud computing include:
- Extended deployment timelines
- Resource underutilization
- Higher initial and ongoing costs
The Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud solution merges the public and private cloud environment to give your business the best of both worlds. Because you’re joining two separate services, what a hybrid cloud solution looks like for your business is highly customizable and flexible.
A hybrid cloud platform lets you host mission-critical applications and data out of your own in-house servers while hosting less critical processes on public cloud servers. As a result, you get the total control of a private cloud with the elasticity of a public cloud.
Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud
The hybrid cloud offers the benefits above along with:
- More balanced workflows
- Easier compliance
- Extensive customization
Challenges of a Private Cloud
At the same time, a private cloud platform often comes with concerns like:
- Leveraging multiple cloud vendors
- Tracking and managing spending
- Optimizing cloud resources for your business operations
- Requiring a team with hybrid cloud technical expertise
- Ensuring your cloud services work together
Los Angeles IT Support
If you’re a medium or small business in the Los Angeles, and you’re interested in what a cloud solution may look like for you, contact the cloud experts at Be Structured today. We’ll help you navigate the complexities of the cloud environment for a solution that’s built around your business’s needs and goals.