Types of Cloud and their relevance
There are three relevant types of clouds: Private (internal or vendor-hosted), Public (external), and Hybrid (mixed). Each cloud infrastructure has unique characteristics that can meet business objectives.
Enterprise Private Cloud
A private cloud enables enterprises to implement cloud computing solution at either their own site or at service provider’s datacenter. Enterprises are implementing a private cloud within areas of their infrastructure in which a cloud model makes the most sense. A private cloud provides many of the benefits of cloud computing without the loss of control and security risks associated with other cloud infrastructure models. A private cloud includes virtualization technology to enhance scalability, resource management, and hardware utilization. In addition, it incorporates datacenter automation of provisioning and chargeback metering for consumption and services-based billing capabilities. Identity-based security protocols ensure that only authorized personnel have access to appropriate applications and infrastructure.
An increasingly popular version of a private cloud is a vendor hosted private cloud, sometimes referred to as a partner cloud. With this alternative, the cloud is hosted within a vendor secure data center. Virtualized applications are moved to vendor data center servers, and the vendor uses its cloud enterprise support tools, testing technologies, and procedures.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Enterprise Private Cloud Infrastructure
A private cloud enables customers to leverage many of the benefits of cloud computing within its own datacenter facilities. This cloud infrastructure model is ideal for clients subject to stringent privacy restrictions (banks, government, etc.). However, a private cloud will provide little to no immediate cost savings due to the investments required in technologies.
A provider hosted private cloud allows organizations to take advantage of cloud computing and provider tools, techniques, and experience, while mitigating security risks. In addition, a provider hosted private cloud frees in-house resources and provides an immediate reduction in IT support costs by enabling consumption-based billing. It also eliminates future infrastructure CapEx, while freeing up internal capacity. In short, this cloud model permits users to leverage vendor cloud methodologies, tools, and lower prices. However, it does not provide the optimum promise of cloud computing such as the lowest price and unlimited elasticity to ramp resources.
In a model similar to electric utilities, a public cloud enables organizations to use infrastructure and applications via the Internet that reside in the cloud. This shared pool of networks, servers, storage, applications, and services are available to multiple end-users or enterprises. End users without actually possessing these resources can gain access to them easily on demand via a Web browser from a laptop or a terminal, wherever they are needed and with minimal management or service provider effort.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Public Cloud
Using a public cloud has significant appeal because it requires no infrastructure investments while enabling unprecedented levels of scalability. The translation for IT shops: greater efficiencies and increased agility at a relatively low cost.
The downside: Organizations are hesitant to move to the public cloud primarily due to security and regulatory concerns. Others worry about locking data into a single vendor’s cloud infrastructure. While public cloud computing allows the enterprise to avoid many infrastructure expenses, it’s important to plan for other associated cost areas tied to a deployment, such as vendor management processes, capacity planning, service oriented architecture (SOA), chargeback systems, incident management and service level agreements (SLAs).
Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure
A hybrid or mixed cloud environment provides the best of both worlds – combining elements of private and public cloud infrastructures. Within this model, a public cloud is leveraged to extend or supplement an internal cloud. For example, a company may employ an internal cloud to share physical and virtual resources over a network, but extend these capabilities when needed such as at peak processing times. Implementing a mixed cloud infrastructure enables enterprises to pick and choose, which applications within the portfolio reside on a public versus private cloud. For example, this model permits financial applications with the most proprietary information to remain behind a firewall, while other software such as collaboration, customer service, or supply chain can reside on a public cloud.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure
A mixed cloud infrastructure model supports high capacity time periods and mitigates security risks on mission-critical applications. It enables you to leverage the advantages of public cloud for more portable and appropriate applications, while maintaining control over legacy and vital systems with greater compliance, performance, and security requirements. The hybrid model also provides an optimal approach for architecture since organizations can combine local infrastructure with infrastructure that is scalable and provisioned on demand. Accordingly, a mixed model offers substantial cost savings at the same time as enabling almost unlimited flexibility. It is important to note, however, by using this model enterprises are trading additional cost savings for added security.
Because of these considerable advantages, a hybrid cloud model is likely to be the most widely adopted infrastructure for global enterprises. The drawback to this model is the complexity of monitoring and managing all portions of the hybrid cloud from a common portal or service desk. This requires considerable engineering on the part of the IT organization or the acquisition of third-party vendor services to provide the necessary “glue” to oversee the enterprise environment wealth of information on how to enhance their business value while reducing costs and freeing resources for more strategic initiatives.
By Gopan Joshi