Public, private or hybrid – what flavour of cloud do you need?
Private sector organisations operate in a commercially competitive world and so the drive for them to adopt cloud technologies is huge. Paul K Jeffrey, technical account director for iomart, outlines the different cloud options on the market
A recent survey by UK cloud computing trade body, the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), suggested that the adoption of cloud services has increased over the past couple of years. It questioned 250 UK-based senior IT decision-makers and found that 84 per cent were now using cloud services, with almost three quarters saying their use would grow over the next 12 months.
And the type of cloud services being used is interesting. Industry analysts 451 Research reported that 56% of workloads in the cloud over the next 24 months will be in private or hybrid cloud environments.
As the public sector is urged to become more competitive and move from on-premise, what cloud choices are available? By understanding the different flavours of cloud and looking at what circumstances they can be applied to, you should be able to pick ‘n mix according to your organisational requirements.
The different flavours
There are three main flavours of cloud computing – namely public, private and hybrid - all working on the basis that you access a combined hardware and software platform via the internet.
This is provided by a third party Cloud Service Provider and is where virtual computing resources are accessed over the internet. It is a multi-tenant environment where users share the resources and the platform hosts more than one client
User costs tend to be more affordable with this shared hosting and there is greater flexibility, allowing you to scale the number of servers and resources you use easily and quickly. The drawback is that more often than not public cloud will take you out of the UK to data centres in unknown locations.
So how would public cloud work for the public sector? If you need to put up an informational website to generate enquiries for a new service you’re launching to the public, you could use the public cloud to host it. Public cloud can also be really useful for development and testing environments that can be scaled up and down over short periods.
In a private cloud the computing resources – hardware, software and virtual machines - are for the exclusive use of one single organisation, what’s known as a single tenant environment. The bonus here is that you know exactly where your data is stored and you have total control.
You can either have a private cloud on-site or you can host it within the data centre of a third party Cloud Service Provider who will work with you to create exactly what you need from the ground up. A private cloud gives you full visibility of your resources ensuring you are always running at optimum efficiency.
By its very nature a private cloud offers additional security to a public one. It is best in situations where you need to meet specific security and compliance standards. This is particularly relevant for the likes of health services, social services and police forces which hold very sensitive information.
A managed private cloud – which includes monitoring, maintenance and patching from the hosting provider – can also provide peace of mind around uptime and reliability via strong Service Level Agreements built into the contract.
Hybrid Cloud is a combination of computing models. It can mean a mixture of Public and Private Cloud, colocation or on-site computing resources and can be made up of dedicated and virtual machines. Essentially it is the blend of resources that can help you meet any computing requirement.
More and more private sector organisations are choosing this model because it allows them to place the right application in the right computing environment. For public sector organisations trying to upgrade legacy systems this could well be the answer. You might need to reduce your overall costs while continuing to use your existing IT infrastructure or you might have sensitive and non-sensitive data that you need to keep separate.
For instance, Hybrid Cloud allows you to have public cloud machines whose data is then stored on a private SAN. It also allows you to bridge between applications, for instance using an API to connect Salesforce to your own CRM sitting in a private cloud.
iomart can help make the cloud simple by managing these different flavours of cloud on your behalf. Our Cloud Sure Hosting Solutions combine our expertise across everything from Amazon Web Services to VMware private cloud backed by a powerful data centre infrastructure and meaningful SLAs.
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