Understanding differences in cloud approaches

Cloud technologies have evolved significantly in recent years, becoming a focal point of IT endeavours in many companies.

Now, businesses operate cloud-based file storage systems to quickly access information, and virtual offices to make scaling the number of workstations for employees easy.

The various cloud misconceptions have been discussed previously, but it's also important to understand how exactly implementations can differ. This article will explore the variations between public, private and hybrid clouds, and the considerations for businesses.

The public cloud

This mode of cloud operation differs significantly from private cloud implementations, and there are of course both benefits and setbacks.

Google and Amazon are key public cloud companies, with services like Google Drive and Amazon Web Services standing out as clear examples. Public cloud services are operated by the cloud provider (Google or Amazon, for example). This means a company only needs to lease the required storage space or services, scaling up or down as required.

Costs can be lowered, but businesses do give up a degree of oversight. With a public cloud system, there's no way to make modifications as needed and it's often a far more involved task to integrate legacy applications.

Public cloud growth is set to see significant growth, with IDC research from last year predicting public IT cloud services spending would reach more than US$107 billion in 2017, a figure that will no doubt continue to grow in subsequent years.

The private cloud

The opposite of a public cloud service, private clouds are managed directly by a company, usually by an onsite team or trusted vendor.

These clouds are designed to the exact specifications of the business. This means it's easier to integrate legacy applications and make changes to the infrastructure or services as and when required. There's also greater oversight and control, with systems managed by the business.

Of course, with more control comes greater operating costs, as businesses need to assign staff to monitor the status of networks around the clock.

The hybrid cloud

The last type of cloud is a service that utilises elements of both public and private systems, as the name implies. Essentially, both types will be used for distinct functions within the business, with each being used where it's most appropriate.

For example, a public cloud can be used for non-essential services such as video conferencing (where security isn't as high a priority). A private cloud installation, on the other hand, can be used for file storage (where security is essential).

The key benefit of a hybrid cloud is the scalability, as many non-essential systems can be offloaded to public alternatives, helping to bring costs down.

This sector is growing too, as MarketsandMarkets predicted that the hybrid cloud market would hit $79.54 billion by 2018, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.19 per cent.

Choosing and managing cloud technologies

Public, private and hybrid clouds all have distinct advantages, and each is clearly designed for specific business needs.

Public clouds are suited for small businesses without large IT budgets, and private clouds are useful for larger enterprises where security is a top priority. Hybrid clouds can be utilised by companies of any size, as they're scalable depending on requirements.

Of course, all cloud system (especially private clouds controlled onsite) require effective management, and this is where a service management framework such as ITIL comes into play.

ITIL is a methodology designed to provide best practice approaches to technology implementations, ensuring projects rarely deviate from pre-determined objectives. It's an essential tool when adopting a new system (like the cloud) and certainly needs to be assessed.

If you'd like to find out more about the ITIL framework, and how it can help you when it comes to IT service management, speak to ALC Training today.