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Choosing cloud solutions: public vs private vs hybrid

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Cloud computing comes in three core flavours: public, private and hybrid.

Actually it comes in many more than three. There are subcategories of cloud that have been optimised for a variety of functions and characteristics including memory, input/output capacity, storage, compute processing ability and more.

Let us keep that diversity in mind, but initially stick to the three ‘basic’ types of cloud when we look at how to choose a cloud solution.

Public scalability

When we talk about public cloud solutions we are describing the delivery of service-based applications, storage (and additional layers such as analytics) that a hosting specialist will provide from a datacentre. This ‘off premises’ public cloud computing power is delivered via a communications pipe that we already know as the Internet.

Public cloud is superbly suited to high-scalability due to the size of the backend power available in the datacentre. Although multi-tenant provisioning controls exist to keep different customers’ ‘instances’ of cloud apart, public cloud is secure but logically not ever as secure as an on premises private cloud solution.

Private cloud power

Private cloud is an ‘on-premises’ installation delivered by a cloud specialist who will help build (we usually say provision), manage (we typically mean scale up or down) and operate (control multi-tenancy clouds inside the main unit). This multi-tenancy is important because it means we can create multiple Virtual Machines for complex computing jobs – all inside one ‘physical box’ if you will. Private cloud can be deployed behind a firm’s own firewall so it is inherently more secure than public cloud for some data use cases, which is why it exists in the first place. Private cloud is scalable, but not in as broad terns as a public cloud. Private cloud also comes with the responsibility to manage it, in the first place. Although it is possible to buy a ‘managed private cloud’ service so that a cloud provider is on hand for operations, most instances of private cloud are managed by the firm that purchases the equipment outright.

business man with laptop and look sky and cloudHybrid reality factor

As scalable as public cloud is and as tightly managed as private cloud is, both routes to the new world of virtualised cloud computing have their limitations. This is why hybrid cloud as a logical combination of both deployment scenarios is widely agreed to be among the most prudent options for a wide variety of customer use cases.

So is it all that straightforward? Yes and no. Most customers will find that they need some additional controls to help navigate between the various layers of cloud. In this category we find Dell Cloud Manager as a management tool designed to deploy and manage enterprise-class applications across private, public and hybrid clouds.

Dell explains that this service offering provides a suite of tools for managing cloud infrastructure, including the provisioning, management and automation of applications across the leading private and public cloud platforms.

“Available as software-as-a-service (SaaS) or as on-premises software that enables you to control the cloud from within your own datacentre, Cloud Manager provides agility, governance, and choice for your enterprise,” says the firm.

Agility and choice

Cloud computing as it exists today is an achievable option for firms of every size and in every vertical. What matters before customers bring cloud solutions online is that they should also be able to evidence the real ability to be agile with cloud — and this means areas including auto-provisioning, auto-scaling, automated backups, recovery and cross-cloud bursting.

To get the true flexibility out of cloud computing and reap all the efficiencies it offers, a degree of additional service intelligence is essential — otherwise, cloud computing is just a server and that’s a shame because it can be so much more than that.


Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian is a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily, he worked as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, he is also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. He has spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management.

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