If you’re thinking about migrating your business’s workload to the cloud, there are several ways you can approach it. Public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid and multi-cloud deployments are all pretty common choices for even complex cloud migrations.
Public cloud providers are probably the most popular because they are generally cheaper and a more efficient use of resources. Private clouds offer better security, which is important for highly-regulated industries. Whether you need a private or public cloud, or a combination of the two, will depend heavily on your budget, security requirements, and migration plan.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Public clouds
- Private clouds
- Hybrid & multi-cloud approaches
Public cloud providers, like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM, provide cloud and server space to multiple different companies at once. Sometimes, more than one company’s data is even held on the same server, also known as multitenancy. Users access public clouds through the internet.
Lower costs: Because multiple companies are paying for the space, public cloud providers can usually offer storage at a much lower cost than private cloud providers because they’re maximizing their hardware usage. By using a public cloud provider, you’re outsourcing a lot of your server maintenance labor to a team who can handle it more efficiently than your in-house IT team, since that’s their only job.
Less maintenance: With public cloud vendors, your internal teams don’t have to waste time managing the cloud servers, because the vendor has teams to handle that for you. If you think of it like housing, public clouds are like an apartment complex where there are maintenance people on staff to handle issues so you don’t have to.
Security for small businesses: Many smaller teams and companies might not have the resources needed to invest in major security measures. Public cloud vendors often have solid security measures in place to help ease the gaps for those smaller businesses.
Security and compliance: Heavily regulated industries like healthcare and banking may require more security measures than public cloud providers offer. Although the risk is virtually non-existent, multitenancy does pose the risk of data leakage, which heavily regulated industries do not allow for. It’s also difficult to apply the same security standards to both on-premises servers and public cloud servers, since each company doesn’t have full control over the cloud.
Vendor reliance: While moving data and software from on-premises servers to the cloud can have a lot of benefits, it makes your company reliant on the vendor. If they stop offering certain services for any reason, your business operations will suffer for it.
Private clouds, like on-premises servers, only house data and applications for the company that owns it. Private clouds can either be internal or hosted by a third-party provider. Many companies turn all or part of their datacenter into a private cloud.
Better security: Because no other companies’ data is stored on the same servers or even the same cloud, it’s easier to meet security and compliance requirements than it is with public clouds. It also gives you better control over the security measures you can apply.
Guaranteed resources: With private cloud servers, you have guaranteed access to the storage space you need.
Flexibility: When it comes to on-premises servers, the full capacity usually isn’t being used because there has to be room to grow. With cloud storage, however, you can deploy workloads to different servers as resource needs change and upgrade storage space as necessary.
Cost: Private clouds are often more expensive than public clouds since all of the resources are solely dedicated to one company. Plus, if you’re managing the cloud in-house, you’ll have to pay the salary and benefits of the team that’s maintaining it. However, even a private cloud can save you money over on-premises servers.
Maintenance: Unlike with public clouds, businesses using private clouds generally have to handle all of their own maintenance. The in-house IT team will need to dedicate time and resources to managing the servers which could result in delays on other projects depending on the size of your staff.
Hybrid & multi-cloud approaches
A hybrid approach means you’re keeping some data on a private cloud or on-premises server while the rest goes into public cloud servers. A multi-cloud approach, on the other hand, means you’re using several different public clouds at the same time. In some industries, you might have some parts of your data that are highly-regulated and some pieces that are less critical. In this case, it may make sense for your company to take a multi-cloud or hybrid approach.
Hybrid and multi-cloud approaches are more flexible because you can create exactly the cloud infrastructure that your business needs. They can also help you save money. If you have some data that needs to be stored on a private cloud but some that doesn’t, a hybrid approach can ensure you’re only paying for the features and storage you need. Additionally, with hybrid and multi-cloud approaches, you reduce some of the risks associated with vendor reliance because you’re using more than one vendor in your cloud strategy. Moreover, a multi-cloud approach enables companies to pick and choose the best cloud-based software tools from each provider.
Choosing the type of provider that’s right for you
There are a number of companies out there that offer both public and private cloud storage and computing services as well as businesses that can help you during your migration. Your industry, budget, and security requirements will help you determine what kind of cloud infrastructure your business needs. It’s important to first make a comprehensive plan for your cloud migration so you’ll know exactly what you need before you start talking to vendors.