Fitting into the Cloud: Part 2 – Public Cloud

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The cost and efficiency benefits of cloud hosting can’t be denied, and anyone in the technical industry has likely read articles after articles touting cloud computing as the solution for your organization. It’s probably not a decision of whether you’ll move your resources to the cloud, but rather what cloud hosting option suits your needs and requirements best. Last week we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of private cloud and who may be a fit for it. In part two of this three part series, “Fitting in the Cloud,” we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of public cloud and how it may or may not be a fit for your organization.

Public Cloud

Simply put, a public cloud is a form of cloud computing that is in a shared multi-tenant environment in which you purchase a piece of a server where other tenants or clients are also located. Public cloud is provided as a service over the Internet via a cloud hosting provider, who is responsible for the physical infrastructure. Tenants are able to share the infrastructure as each tenant’s data and application usage is separated so only authorized users are allowed access.

Public cloud is viewed by IT leaders as a critical piece to any organization’s infrastructure makeup. With organizations sharing an environment they are splitting the costs of the infrastructure and also benefitting from faster and less complex deployments of applications and generally more cost efficient. Let’s dive deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of public cloud versus private cloud.

Advantages of Public Cloud

Reduced Cost: As with any cloud offering, cost efficiency is one of the major advantages. This is especially true with public cloud. Organizations can make significant cuts to their IT budgets because they don’t have to make the upfront purchase of the physical hardware. Not only does this save money on the capital expense of the hardware, but it also saves operating expenses because the hosting provider is responsible for the daily costs of power to run the hardware and costs of space to house the equipment. The pay-as-you-go model for public cloud allows organizations to pay for only what they utilize.

Maintenance Free: Maintaining infrastructure for organization’s IT staff can be a daunting task, especially when coupled with managing all their other responsibilities. Public cloud is designed to reduce the responsibilities of the IT staff. With the cloud hosting provider maintaining the physical hardware at their site it provides the IT staff with more time to update and develop new technologies for their company.

Ease of Deployment: Utilizing a virtualized environment allows organizations to decrease the time it takes to deploy and reconfigure significantly. With non-virtualized infrastructure, the time to deploy or reconfigure could take hours or possibly days to set up and get running versus a virtualized infrastructure that can be accomplished in minutes. This is a critical benefit if you were to experience a crashed server because with every minute you are down, your business could potentially be losing money. With a public cloud solution, if you were to experience a crashed server you could have a duplicate of the crashed server up within minutes.

Flexible Ownership: Most public cloud hosting providers will offer public cloud services without the need of a contract. This allows the organizations to be more flexible with their infrastructure and costs as well as an opportunity to evaluate costs of public cloud services at other hosting providers. While it’s not recommended to shop based on price, continuing your education on cloud services at other hosting providers is not a bad idea. Keep in mind that in most scenarios the cheapest cost is directly related to the kind of customer service and support you will receive from a company.

Disadvantages of Public Cloud

Public cloud services are very popular because of the benefits stated above; however, there are distinct disadvantages that should be recognized when considering public cloud services. With the decrease in costs associated with not having to purchase the physical hardware also comes the lack of control. Cloud hosting providers own and maintain the equipment that your organization uses, which in turn means that the hosting provider is in control of their data.

Organizations benefit from utilizing a shared environment where the costs are equally distributed across the tenants on the server. However, with shared environments, latency issues typically accompany them. While this may not affect all cloud tenants, if you’re a business that is using the public cloud to store and transfer large amounts of data then you may feel the latency issues.

Who Should Consider Public Cloud Solutions

While every organization has their own unique way of conducting business and determining the best IT infrastructure fit for their needs, public cloud is all about reducing costs, flexibility, and ease of deployment. Public cloud may be the best option for organizations that are looking to cut IT costs and not having to worry about maintaining the hardware being used. Organizations are able to use the capital funds in different aspects of the business such as marketing or sales opposed to purchasing physical hardware. If you’re an organization with a smaller IT staff then public cloud may be the fit for you as maintaining the server is the responsibility of the service provider, freeing up more time for your IT staff to focus on other tasks.

At the end of the day, what your company values most is what should be evaluated when choosing the correct cloud service. Flexibility, control, costs, and ease of deployments are all significant features that each company should recognize and determine which are the most desired.

Tune in for part three of “Fitting into the Cloud,” where we will be discussing the hybrid form of cloud computing.

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