Cloud Storage Basics; Public Clouds vs Private Clouds
If you’re considering taking your business to cloud computing and storage, you should first decide between public and private clouds. They both come with their own advantages and disadvantages after all. A public cloud service is owned and operated by a third party, who offer their services to several tenants sharing the same hardware.
A private cloud service is something that you manage and own as part of your business, or it could be owned by a vendor but only available to you. Either way, the hardware is for you and your business alone. The factors to consider when choosing a cloud service include security, customisation, scalability, and cost.
Today we’ll be looking at the pros and cons of the different cloud storage options to give you the knowledge to decide which option would best meet your business’ needs, or whether you should even consider using a hybrid option that combines both.
Security and Compliance
One of the most common reasons network managers give for choosing private cloud storage over public cloud storage is security and compliance. It’s only natural that security would be a concern when sensitive data isn’t directly controlled by you and is being kept in a shared environment others have access to.
Some experts will argue a reputable public cloud vendor will offer just as much security – if not more – than a business would be able to get with a private cloud service. Others will stress that the security concerns around sharing resources should not be overlooked.
If you need a lot of security for your data, then this doesn’t automatically disqualify you from safely using public clouds. What it does mean is that you should be sure to ask a potential provider questions to ensure that they can provide adequate insurance in the service agreement. Verify the vendor has high quality practices and policies when it comes to security; the kind that you would have in place with a private cloud.
Compliance is another key area where one must practice due diligence. If your business is subject to certain regulations like PCI and HIPAA, then be sure to choose a vendor that is able to meet those requirements and that this is covered in the service agreement. If you can’t find a vendor that will be able to meet your needs and is unable to be complaint, then you might have to go private with your cloud storage to ensure you get what you need.
Scalability and Customisation
Scalability is a major reason for choosing public clouds. A public cloud service will afford more flexibility as your business grows. If you need more computer power or storage space, a public cloud service makes it easy to scale up and get more space and power. You can also scale back down if necessary without wasting on-site resources that you’ve invested in. By comparison, having a private cloud will allow for much more hardware customisation. This allows you to get specific attributes that can’t be found with public cloud vendors. Some businesses may find this is a necessity, or at least worth the cost and effort of building a private cloud.
Public cloud servers generally operate on a pay-as-you-go basis that means they usually offer a cost advantage over private servers. You won’t be wasting budget when the only resources you pay for are the ones you use. Businesses that have fluctuating computing needs will also often find a public server is the most economic option for them. Even so, public cloud services don’t automatically cost less than going private.
The costs depend on a variety of factors such as the amount of data being stored and the number of users you have. Sometimes the extra costs of a public cloud would be worth the investment to avoid the costs of paying new – or existing – staff to build and maintain the private cloud server.
What you can take from this is that the more cost-effective solution depends upon your needs and current resources. Be sure that you understand the pricing and potential trade-offs associated with your vendor.
Hybrid Cloud Services
As businesses continue to grapple with choosing between private and public cloud servers, there has come a third option; a hybrid that combines both. A hybrid setup allows private cloud servers to use “cloud bursting”, which is when less sensitive data is kept on a public cloud if the demand for the private server increases. If the demand remains high with the private cloud, the data can be moved back if necessary after a private server has been expanded.
A hybrid cloud service allows companies to take advantage of both kinds of services, but keep in mind they will take more time, money, and expertise to set up and maintain due to their complex nature.
The reality is that there’s no right or wrong answer as far as choosing between public and private cloud services or combining them for a hybrid model. Which option is right for you is dependent upon your requirements and priorities as far as security, scalability, compliance, customisation, and budget are concerned.