Which Cloud: Finding the Right Fit for Your IT Needs

It seems like just yesterday that the tech world gave an old word new meaning and everyone was asking the question – what is the cloud? With heavyweights like Amazon, Microsoft and Google driving adoption among enterprises, "the cloud" isn’t just a buzzword anymore. We are now asking – which cloud?

Cloud computing comes in four delivery models: Public, Private, Community and Hybrid. Several factors drive an organization's choice of cloud – e.g. the type of data, security requirements, compliance regulations or management capabilities.

We will take a look at each model to give you a better understanding of which cloud(s) makes most sense for your business needs.

Public Cloud

Public cloud is probably the most recognizable model of cloud computing, in which services are provided in a virtualized environment, constructed using shared physical resources and accessible over a public network such as the internet. Since resources are shared, public cloud may be ideal for organizations looking to reduce upfront costs while improving flexibility, scalability and performance.

In many instances, public clouds provide the best economies of scale. For example, a company can move CAPEX to OPEX since the cloud service provider covers the costs associated with hardware, applications and bandwidth. Furthermore, this model is a pay-as-you-go, so costs are based on capacity used.

One consideration to take into account is since data storage and network resources are shared, vulnerabilities can be created, making data security a top concern.

When to use Public Cloud:

  • When hosting non-mission critical applications like email, CRM and HR
  • Development and testing
  • Your organization requires incremental capacity during peak times
  • Archive historical data

Private Cloud

The private cloud computing model delivers similar advantages to public cloud like scalability and self-service, but through a proprietary architecture. Unlike public clouds, which deliver services to multiple organizations, a private cloud is dedicated to a single organization.

A private cloud environment offers the highest level of security and control. Since resources are not shared, a private cloud can be highly customized. This is an especially attractive option if legacy applications experience performance issues in the public cloud.

However, compared to public clouds, private clouds can be expensive and an organization must purchase and maintain all software and infrastructure. 

When to consider Private Cloud

  • Control and security are vital
  • Your organization is subject to strict security and data privacy mandates, including FedRAMP, HIPAA and PCI compliance
  • The environment has a predictable usage pattern
  • IT has the resources and expertise to deploy and manage a next generation cloud data center efficiently

Community Cloud

This option is a shared cloud that supports a specific community with shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy and compliance considerations). It may be managed by the organizations or a third party and may exist on or off premise. A community cloud is great for organizations that are driven by compliance and regulatory measures. Instead of just provisioning space in a public cloud, organizations can test and work on a cloud platform which is secure, “dedicated,” and even compliant with certain regulations.

Possible uses for a Community Cloud:

  • Development and testing
  • To extend existing applications
  • Disaster recovery
  • Modernize enterprise applications and deploy next generation applications

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment which uses a mix of private cloud and public cloud services. These public and private cloud infrastructures, which operate independently of each other, communicate over an encrypted connection, using technology that allows for the portability of data and applications.

Using a hybrid approach enables organizations to maintain control and management of a private cloud while taking advantage of the flexibility and economies of scale public cloud offers. For example, the public cloud can be used to interact with customers, while the private cloud can be used to keep highly sensitive data secure.

When organizations should consider the Hybrid Cloud approach:

  • Untested Workloads: Use public cloud resources for a new, untested application before embarking on the capital expenditure associated with launching in a private cloud
  • Cloudbursting: Usually a temporary situation — i.e., to handle a spike due to seasonal traffic or news event
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery: Production environment in a private cloud and a recovery environment in a public cloud, ready to spin up as necessary
  • Regulatory/Compliance Requirements

At QTS, we’re here to help you understand the benefits and concerns that come with the different cloud models. We know where IT is going and we’re helping you get there. Contact our experts to start your cloud journey today.