Public, Private and Hybrid: The Straight Skinny on Cloud Platforms

The cloud is all the rage, however many organizations are still asking experienced cloud service providers such as HOSTING to guide them in choosing among private, public and hybrid cloud platforms. Sean Bruton, HOSTING Vice President of Products and Jason McDaniel, HOSTING Platform Product Manager, cleared up some of the confusion in their webinar, Public, Private and Hybrid: The Straight Skinny on Cloud Platforms. You can view the on-demand version here. Following are some key takeaways.

Private vs. public clouds

Private clouds are developed for a single company for their own use. They offer a wealth of compute resources as well as dedicated hardware. They can also provide increased capabilities to ensure security compliance. Organizations that  leverage private clouds have complete control over these resources including how they allocate and configure them.

Public clouds are multitenant compute platforms. They are owned and operated by external providers such as HOSTING. Public clouds can provide a secure, highly available environment for organizations that don’t require a dedicated environment. In public cloud, many corporations operate their workloads side- by-side.

The differences in public clouds

Many organizations mistakenly assume that all public clouds are created equal when in fact, none of them are the same on the back end. There are similarities in how public clouds are used – i.e., you can load up operating systems, login to a server, etc. However, the types of workloads, use cases they are built for and failover characteristics can be very different. HOSTING splits up the public cloud into two segments.

Commodity clouds

These are very siimilar to virtual private server offerings. On the backend, these clouds have servers that have been “sliced up” to support multiple operating systems which have their own local storage.

Pros

  • Commodity clouds offer very fast storage at a low cost.

Cons

  • If anything fails in your cloud environment such as a power supply or hard drive, your workload won’t be spun up automatically to somewhere else. It will remain offline until it can be manually restored – often from backup tapes.
  • You can only upgrade within the confines of the unused space on your local server.

Enterprise clouds

These clouds are built on big distributed architectures using high-performance storage area networks (SANs) on the backend. They offer the mission-critical capabilities you need to run a production workload.

Pros

  • You can pick your storage performance
  • If anything fails, your workload will automatically fail over to another node.
  • There are nearly limitless resources available when you think about scaling.

Cons

  • There is a higher investment for mission-critical capabilities.

Security in the cloud

Security control environments are very different among platforms. Some organizations want to store their base workloads on a dedicated private cloud, but want the ability to burst into a public cloud for higher demand activities or transient workloads. This isn’t always possible for companies working with sensitive data due to security and compliance requirements.

There are only a handful of cloud providers whose public clouds are certified for compliance and certified to the same extent as private clouds.  HOSTING private and public cloud platforms are certified to the same level of compliance and all security services can be deployed to both environments.

Hybrid clouds

Hybrid clouds combine the benefits of public and private clouds by enabling server architectures to be “mixed and matched,” to create a hybrid managed cloud environment suited to an organization’s unique needs. HOSTING hybrid clouds are supported by one team, are located behind one firewall and are audited to the same auditing metrics for HIPAA, PCI DSS and so forth.

Questions to Ask a Cloud Service Provider

  • What compute platforms (private, public, dedicated) do you provide?
  • Is your public cloud enterprise class?
  • I have different workloads suited for different cloud platforms. Can I use some or all of them simultaneously?
  • Is your cloud platform truly hybrid – one firewall, one support team and all tiers audited to the same level of compliance?

For more information on how to select the right cloud platforms to address your unique business needs, contact HOSTING today.

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