Cloud computing can cut down on company costs, accelerate service delivery and streamline IT efforts. But before you hop on that cloud, it’s imperative to understand IT infrastructure and your various options.
Private cloud computing platforms are those that handle your organization exclusively, with the platform dedicated solely to your enterprise.
Benefits: Security is the number one benefit of private cloud computing. Because the system is for your use only, you have direct control over security measures as well as data availability. Several government agencies have opted for private cloud computing to handle departments that would not be cost-effective to run themselves. Three examples are the websites for the Federal Communications Commission, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, and the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Detriments: Private cloud computing, which can be run by your own IT department or a service provider, often requires high upfront investments to get the project off the ground. Another drawback is the limits on its scalability. Private cloud computing infrastructures are not limitless, which means they may not be able to grow as rapidly or expansively as your company needs.
Public Cloud Computing
Public cloud computing uses platforms that share their infrastructures with several organizations, rather than a single user.
Benefits: Cloud platforms do not require high upfront investments or any risk to those investments. Public cloud platform scalability is virtually unlimited. The shared nature of the infrastructure keeps the cost low and incredibly versatile, since they are being utilized with high efficiency. The travel industry was one of the first to use public cloud computing, particularly for airline booking systems which began using cloud systems in the 1960s.
Detriments: Security concerns put a cloud over the public cloud option. Because resources are shared among companies, a higher risk exists for security and regulatory issues. A firm and unwavering trust in the provider is a must, as is the assurance it will rapidly resolve and correct any issues that may possibly arise.
Hybrid Cloud Computing
As the name suggests, hybrid cloud computing combines private and public platforms, allowing an enterprise to choose where specific applications are handled. Applications that are particularly sensitive can be channeled to the private clouds. Apps that require a high level of processing capacity not available on the private end can find the resources on the public cloud. The combined benefits make it ideal for many enterprises.
Revolutionary vs. Evolutionary Approach
Businesses have two ways to approach the cloud. It can start from scratch or it can build upon an existing IT infrastructure. The former, known as the revolutionary approach, works for those who are just beginning to build their businesses and have the advantage of building native cloud applications from the get-go.
The evolutionary approach, used by established businesses with a firm IT foundation in place, requires tweaking of existing apps to work seamlessly on the cloud. But it also does not require you begin your cloud expansion with the proverbial tabula rasa. Integrating both approaches is often ideal to meet the varied business needs.
Tips on Getting Started
- Investigate business needs and explore cloud options
- Experiment with various ways cloud computing can serve your business
- Adopt a platform for your current and future needs
- Start by using the cloud for noncritical apps
- Partner with a trusted provider
An overall benefit of cloud computing is its extreme versatility. New apps can be build from scratch on the cloud platform while others that are not suited for the cloud can remain on the traditional infrastructure. Cloud computing does not necessarily replace everything you have; it adds options to help your business streamline and grow.
Alan McMahon works for Dell. He has worked for Dell for the last 13 years involved in enterprise solution design across a range for products from servers, storage to virtualization. He is based in Ireland and enjoys sailing as a past time.