Blog: Choosing the cloud that’s right for you
By now, I’m sure you could agree that there are various business benefits that you can take advantage of when it comes to going to the cloud: increased functionality, flexibility, cost and process efficiencies.
But in order to make your move most effective, you first need to familiarise yourself with the needs of your organisation, both immediate and future, as well as the options available in the market and when each is used best.
Finding the right cloud model and service provider to go with it involves assessing what and who will bring you the most business benefits.
So as with any projects, you need to ask the right questions, ones that help you identify the cost, benefits and risk.
- What level of control do you need over the environment and hardware you are about to deploy?
- How long before you need the environment to be up and running?
- Do you have the needed IT resources? If not, can the service provider provide this?
- Do the components reflect the performance you need to run efficiently?
- Can you add or remove capacity quickly and on an as-needed basis?
- Can you pay for only the resources that you use?
Keeping these questions in mind, there are three cloud models that you can consider, each with its own use cases and benefits that you can take advantage of – assuming you choose the model that best reflects your organisation’s requirements.
Let’s start exploring further.
Option 1: Public cloud
This first option is based on shared hardware that is owned and operated by a third-party provider, meaning that your business wouldn’t incur any hardware or maintenance costs.Each user can operate on a low-cost, using a pay-as-you-go approach, as infrastructure costs are spread across a number of users. And given the size of this type of cloud, you can also scale compute needed as your business requirements change.
So what are some common use cases?
- Public facing applications that don’t reply on your in-house systems – they should be hosted elsewhere, so that they don’t pose any risk to your internal data.
- Support seasonal demand by copying your VMs to the public cloud, turning them on only when needed.
- For any low to medium priority applications, keep them in the cloud, powered down until you need them.
- Develop and test any applications that you may be adding features to, taking advantage of pay-per-use pricing and improved cycle times.
- Business applications can keep track of and communicate with all IoT devices, all the time, even when they are not connected.
The public cloud is probably the most straightforward to understand, with its main selling point being convenience – being easy to set up, use and access.
However, other benefits can include:
- Near unlimited scalability, with any changes in requirements can be met quite easily
- Thanks to the pooling of a large number of resources, users can benefit from a significant saving
- Can reduce CAPEX by moving towards a more OPEX model, using the service provider’s infrastructure
Server and computing capacity is available for rent in a pay-as-you-go arrangement, helping you respond to your changing business requirements
Option 2: Private cloud
The private cloud model involves a private and secure cloud-based environment that only the one client can access.
Just like other cloud models, you can access the compute power you need in an as-a-service arrangement. Only in this case, you have added control and privacy.
For particular use cases, you may consider the private cloud as the perfect fit:
- When you have very specific hardware or configuration requirements
- In industries that have strict governance and regulatory requirements, you may be required to keep your data on-site or within a certain locale.
- Depending on your network requirements, the private cloud can provide more enhanced and reliable service availability by using a more disaster-tolerant network structure.
- If required, your IT team can have complete control over keeping things running, keeping operational information onsite.
Given that any of these use cases are applicable to your business requirements, substantial benefits are due to come your way:
- The private cloud puts security in the hands of the owner.
- The quality criteria for performance and availability can be customised to your specific requirements.
- You can have complete control over your infrastructure, with the added freedom of building your platform to your requirements.
- Decreased likelihood of downtime, as private cloud networks operate across numerous servers, allowing them to pull resources from each area.
Option 3: Hybrid cloud
The hybrid cloud takes the best features of both the public and private cloud models to maximise efficiencies, by using a public cloud for all non-sensitive data and applications and also a private cloud when greater security and compliance is required.
This type of model helps manage seasonal workloads and other demand peaks. You are able to choose the resources you need and how long they are needed, using flexible contract terms.
Of course, there are several use cases that make the hybrid cloud particularly effective:
- When you are experiencing certain spikes in website activity or in access to applications, the approach allows you to deal with this in two ways:
- Workloads with predictable activity can be moved to the cloud, where you pay for only what you use.
- Infrastructure as a Service can be used to increase capacity when needed, while running within your own datacentre.
- On-premise systems can be integrated with public cloud systems to alleviate burden on in-house servers
- When you don’t have the intense capabilities to build an on-premise disaster recovery environment, Disaster Recovery as a Service is an ideal alternative, particularly within a hybrid cloud environment, in order to handle any changing capacity requirements.
- Many IT developers use a public cloud environment for testing new applications. Once they are ready to be deployed to its users, it can then be put into a private cloud.
Between cloud experts and potential users, there is much debate on which cloud model is most effective. This third option answers the question, ‘why not both’?
Here are some of the benefits of hybrid cloud for you to consider:
- Hybrid clouds provide the cost efficiencies of the public cloud, while keeping sensitive assets secure.
- Organisations can explore different operational avenues, thanks to the ability to scale costs and increase security when required.
- Hybrid clouds can be considered be a part of business continuity, where critical data can be replicated in various locations.
- The adoption of hybrid cloud helps organisations reduce costs for maintenance, patching, upgrades and other IT functions.
So now i’m ready to select my cloud, right?
Although you now know a little more about your choices, you need to now have a close look at your requirements and choose the option that fits best – Don’t just choose the option that is most hyped.
You need to create a strategy that outlines the best way to take your organisation to the cloud. Gartner outlines 3 steps to jumpstarting your cloud strategy in ‘Jump-Start Your Cloud Strategy in Three Steps’:
- Adopt an outcome perspective: What do you want to get out of it? How will you measure the impact and ROI? What can and can’t be moved to the cloud?
- Decide on the most suitable cloud adoption method: Independent purchase (per business unit)? Central review (central team purchase for the whole organisation)? Or through a centralised approach (i.e. through your procurement team?
- Success: What I’ll be your success measures? (i.e. cost savings, efficiency, agility and so on)
Often at this stage, organisations find it useful to enlist the help of an IT services organisation to have an in depth look into their requirements, suggest the most effective road to the cloud, and then begin designing a solution that specifically meets your needs.
This is how Blue Central can help on your journey.
Yes, we help you create a unique migration experience, accommodating your specific needs.
But we also minimise the risk by testing the environment before the move is done, thus creating a seamless experience, with minimal downtime.
That’s the Blue Central difference.
Have a chat to one of our cloud specialists to find out more on how all this can help your organisation on their journey to the cloud.