Choosing a Cloud: Public, Private and Hybrid

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The use of the cloud has been heralded as the future of computing and technology, but many claim that it is not the future as it is already here. More and more businesses and individuals are choosing to use the cloud for their hosting and computing needs. Utilising the cloud can bring benefits in terms of security, reliability and scalability and in terms of hosting can provide your website with extremely high levels of up-time. For those thinking about making the move into the cloud there are different types of cloud that they will need to consider. These are public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. If you are thinking about moving your business into the cloud you will need to decide which type of cloud will be most suitable. These different types of cloud hosting will provide different services; these include IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service).
Public clouds are also called ‘shared clouds’ and it is when computer services are provided virtually over the internet. It is when a provider makes applications, services, infrastructure and storage available over the internet to their customers, either for free or for a fee. The main benefit of using a public cloud is that data and applications can be accessed instantly from anywhere and at any time (as long as there is an internet connection). It can also be advantageous because the actual infrastructure of the cloud is managed by the external provider – you or your company do not have to manage the cloud yourself. The cloud can also be easily scaled to your needs, providing more resources if your need increases.
There have been some concerns about the security of public clouds, but as long as you take security precautions and have plans in place. Public clouds are best suited to those who need to test and develop application code as there is a lack of delays and expense. It is also good for companies whose applications are used by a large amount of people. It is good for companies with remote workers – they can access the business environment when they are away from the office. It can also be particularly useful when your company is undertaking collaborative projects, perhaps with another group or company.
A private cloud is almost the opposite of a public cloud. Instead of the services and infrastructure being provided to the general public by a provider, the infrastructure and services are maintained on a private network. A private cloud can also be called an internal cloud or an enterprise cloud. It covers any shared applications or services that take place behind your company’s firewall. Private clouds are beneficial in terms of security as very few resources and applications are actually shared with any other companies or groups. The company also has much more control over the infrastructure of the cloud and can choose what software and hardware is used.
The downside of a private cloud is that its performance ability depends on the capabilities of your company’s hardware and software. A cloud provider will generally be able to provide more resources to a public cloud than a company will be able to do for their private cloud. A private cloud is ideal for those who need high amounts of control and security in the cloud. It is useful for companies who deal with private or confidential data. It is also the right choice for company’s who can effectively run a cloud data centre themselves and who have the personnel, funds and skill to do so.
The third cloud option is for those who want the best of both private clouds and public clouds. This option is known as a hybrid cloud. Through using a hybrid cloud you can benefit from using both internal or a shared cloud. In using both you will have to ensure that the different aspects of your business that use different cloud services can work together. There will also be varying levels of security that you will have to monitor. A hybrid cloud will work well for companies that need to keep their data in a secure environment but want to be able to interact with customers, businesses or suppliers in a public environment. With a hybrid cloud you can choose which applications to have in the public cloud and which tasks need to be kept secure in an internal cloud.

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