The Cloud Debate – Private, Public, Hybrid or Multi Clouds?

Courtney Palotta

The Cloud Debate

Now that we’ve gotten over the hump of whether we should adopt the cloud or not, “which cloud” is now the center of the debate. It feels like that one multiple choice question on an exam that stumps you every time — private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, multi cloud or all of the above. A critical part of the equation is understanding your organizational needs as they relate to the cloud. Then you can decide which infrastructure combination best fits your business. Unfortunately, all the buzz dedicated to each of these “cloudy” terms is making getting to a clear conclusion even harder.

The Cloud debate

Here’s how some industry experts define the variations of the cloud we should consider:

According to Bernard Golden, tech innovator and bestselling author of Amazon Web Services for Dummies, “Hybrid cloud is one of the most ambiguous terms in IT. Some people mean an on-prem cloud computing capability with use of public cloud as well. Some mean a continuing use of traditional on-prem infrastructure with use of public cloud. And some aren’t referring to any on-prem infrastructure at all, but use of multiple public clouds, which is often referred to as multi-cloud.

Ian Moyse, Sales Director of Natterbox and Board Member of Cloud Industry Forum said “Hybrid Cloud is a term he often hears used to describe very differing things from a mix of public and private cloud, to a mixing of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS or  a mix of using cloud and on premise systems. The typical definition of hybrid is the mixing of any of public, private and/or dedicated and on-premises servers to meet the needs of the business, so a mix of the above.

The difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud is that one looks at the horizontal aspects of competitors while the other looks at the vertical aspects of delivery”, says internationally renowned CIO and thought leader, Tim Crawford. Crawford goes on to say that “hybrid cloud addresses the vertical delivery operations and is most commonly the combination of public and private cloud. Whereas multi-cloud looks at the horizontal use of public cloud across multiple public cloud providers.”

Golden said it best however when he declared: “It’s critical that a user organization be clear about what it wants to accomplish so that it can direct its efforts toward the version of hybrid cloud most appropriate for its needs. And it must ensure that it communicates that vision both internally and externally to its suppliers and Service Providers so that all efforts are aligned.”

Moyse suggests that, “we often get too hung up on the terminologies such as PaaS, IaaS, SaaS, private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud and miss the true point, which is what advantageous outcome can be gained for business and/or customer through using the most appropriate platform for the application and its needs. No one chooses cloud for cloud’s sake or for what it’s called. The selection is due to it delivering the best outcome be it more flexibility, ease of platforming, scale of processing, ease of global access or cost and management savings.  We need to focus firstly on the business needs and then refer to which type of cloud or model best addresses the desired outcome.”

At the end of the day organizations can’t afford to get stuck in the quagmire of the cloud debate. Crawford believes “Most enterprises will find that they leverage a combination of both hybrid cloud and multi-cloud over the course of their journey into leveraging cloud-based solutions.”

Golden declares “The predominate version of hybrid cloud that will emerge is one that mixes traditional on-prem infrastructure, which will be managed in legacy fashion, with extensive use of the public cloud, which will enable agile development and DevOps operations.”

Overall, it’s not about the nuances of every approach to the cloud, it’s more essential that enterprises identify the most efficient and cost effective solutions for their organizations. Not any one organization is the same. This may mean utilizing multiple cloud providers, both public and private. The vast choice organizations have opens the door for them to nimbly adopt more cost-effective solutions that transform their traditional infrastructure footprint and reduce costs.

With the many options we have for cloud solutions our mission is to ensure that every customer we touch realizes the flash performance, low latency and availability they need to access all their data on-demand, no matter where it resides.

By Courtney Palotta, VP of Marketing, ClearSky Data 

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