A quick summary of the different types of cloud models and considerations to make when selecting one.
These days it is a challenge to find business applications which are not yet available in cloud versions. From software applications to databases, a quick search will find multiple cloud-based versions from different service providers.
Cloud computing centralises resources, improves business efficiency and as consequently enables workforce mobilisation, facilitating modern day remote working practices. Of course, larger, more complex businesses are likely to have their business models tightly integrated with bespoke, home-grown software applications. These are not easily replaceable with an off-the-shelf application. As a result, decisions have to be made around how bespoke applications can be cloudified.
There are a number of options ranging from having virtual / real servers in your own hosting environment or using a cloud services provider such as Amazon (AWS) or Microsoft (Azure). It is important to understand the different types of cloud configurations so that you can make the correct decision for your business.
There are three popular cloud models, described below:
A public cloud is based on a multi-tenant architecture, where multiple customers share cloud resources typically via a pay-per-use subscription model. In this model, highly scalable cloud resources such as compute, memory and storage are delivered over the Internet as a service. Public clouds eliminate the need for capital expenditure on software and hardware resources and overheads on performing maintenance of the infrastructure, vastly simplifying IT management . Being a shared model, public cloud services are significantly cost-effective and beneficial for businesses experiencing dynamic growth but limited by an IT budget. One of the concerns of a public cloud infrastructure is the security of sensitive information and where your data is being stored, and hence the country whose jurisdiction it falls under. Public cloud providers have gone a long way to provide extremely high levels of security controls and the ability for you to choose the geographical region that your data is being stored in, ensuring tight regulatory compliance even on a public cloud infrastructure.
A private cloud environment is a single-tenant architecture where the cloud components (hardware, storage and network) are dedicated to a single client or company. An alternative to a private cloud service provider is to host a cloud infrastructure yourself and maintain via a private network. As cloud resources are not shared, organisations have tighter control over the network and infrastructure, while enjoying stronger compliance and security. Moreover, it enables organisations to personalise and customise business processes.
A hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private clouds, bringing the best of both worlds. In this deployment model, a private cloud is combined with a public cloud or an on-premise infrastructure so that business-critical operations can be managed in the private cloud while the low sensitivity and high volume processes (e.g. emailing) can be managed in the public cloud. As such, organisations can optimise costs while not compromising on security and data integrity. Hybrid cloud deployments offer a great way to balance security and costs. For instance, financial and government institutions can use a private cloud to manage sensitive data while deploying generic business processes in the public cloud. As such, they get the flexibility to move applications and data between public and private clouds.
In addition to these popular cloud installations, there are a couple of new deployment models described below that are gaining popularity.
A community cloud is similar to a private cloud but comes with a multi-tenant architecture. It is limited to a set of organisations or people. Companies that have similar business requirements come together to build a cloud platform that integrates solutions from various cloud providers. It can either be hosted on a third party server or in one of the tenant’s data centres. As such, it can be owned by one of the tenants, cloud provider or a combination of them. For instance, banks or financial institutions that use a specific security application can access it from a community cloud as it offers the required security and compliance while eliminating the need to provision separate servers for each organisation. A community cloud is cost-effective and flexible while being highly secure.
This is a cloud model where the cloud resources of a single network architecture are distributed across two or more public and private cloud deployments to minimise outage while leveraging best features from each cloud deployment. A multi-cloud architecture also eliminates the reliance on a single vendor.
Cloud computing does not offer a one size fits all solution. It is important to consider technical and business requirements and align them with the appropriate cloud model. A good starting point for a successful business is to devise a cloud strategy and then leverage the most appropriate model(s) for its needs.
Telappliant is a leading provider of telecoms, connectivity and IT solutions , supplying services to its business customers throughout the UK. We have undertaken many digital transformation projects to enable organisations to move from old world legacy office based server environments, to new age cloud environments of varying configurations, all managed by our team of IT professionals.
Contact us today and make the right cloud choice for your business.