The private vs public cloud debate: Which to deploy, and why consider hybrid?

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Cloud is often seen as the answer to a wide range of business challenges from business innovation to cost reduction. However, there is uncertainty as to whether corporations should operate a model of public, private or hybrid cloud. Here, we will discuss the common perceptions and misconceptions surrounding public and private cloud and the benefits to the enterprise in the adoption of a hybrid model.

Public vs private cloud

According to IDC, overall spending on infrastructure for cloud environments will hit $38.2 billion in 2016. It’s clear that whichever way an organisation chooses to adopt cloud services the capability will be there, but getting to that final decision on what type of services the organisation needs can be a complex process. In the past, the choice of which cloud model to adopt was largely predicated by the business conditions of the industry a company is operating in. For example, private cloud is ideally suited as an entry point for the financial services industry. Private cloud gives the organisation greater control of security and data placement decisions enabling it to comply with the audit requirements of regulators more easily, which is mission critical within the industry.

When looking at the pros and cons of public cloud, one benefit of public cloud is the near unlimited scalability. Scaling up or down can be done quickly, giving greater elasticity for unplanned projects or those that expand rapidly without warning. On the flip side, there are concerns surrounding the security and privacy of data due to the number of attacks to the public cloud. The onslaught of attacks to services that are publicly available, which invariably transcend borders is a mounting concern for companies using public cloud.

Yet, businesses are learning that despite previous barriers to the initial adoption of cloud computing technology such as compliance, customisation, utilisation and privacy requirements, hybrid cloud can offer what the business of the future needs in a secure environment. There no longer needs to be a trade-off between public and private.

Why hybrid?

The hybrid cloud market is growing fast. For the enterprise, hybrid cloud seems the natural evolution from a traditional model, providing huge benefits such as, agility, improved experience, security and compliance and increased innovation.  Markets and Markets published a report last April estimating that the global hybrid cloud market is expected to grow from USD 33.28 Billion in 2016 to USD 91.74 Billion by 2021.

Flexibility and agility

Customer expectations are ever-changing, and as such businesses are under constant pressure to providecontinually improving customer experiences. This requires a systematic and iterative approach to capitalising on a range of technologies’ capabilities – meaning fast, agile development is required. A complete hybrid cloud portfolio enables businesses to place workloads where they make the most sense. An enterprise can align its architecture to take advantage of performance requirements that only dedicated servers can offer. In addition, there is the capability to build upon prior investments in applications and IT infrastructure that an enterprise has already made.

Security and compliance

A common concern about cloud technology among enterprises is security and multi-tenancy. There is growing business pressure to shift data and processing to the cloud, but with mounting regulatory requirements and in some situations regulatory uncertainty, failure to meet these requirements could have critical business impact. A hybrid cloud system satisfies these concerns by allowing a business to choose dedicated servers and network devices that can isolate or restrict access and enabling an organisation to choose exactly where data can be placed. Yet, at the same time this can be orchestrated into one, singular, integrated piece of architecture.

Speed and experience

Cloud has reached a tipping point and the characteristics of IT investment are shifting. Moving from a situation where each organisation keeps a tight hold on their own data, IT executives are actively researching and investigating ways and platforms to integrate data with digital business partners, an experience which can only be fully realised within a cloud environment. But, an enterprise cannot rewrite all of its apps for the cloud or take all of its data to the cloud. Making it simple to migrate any existing enterprise data to the cloud to create efficient workflows with partners, yet keep other data if not needed for cloud operations on private servers, is a massive benefit to large corporations. The speed in which this can be done is what makes moving to a hybrid cloud such an attractive option.

Innovation

Companies recognise the world is being rewritten in code, as IBM Design general manager Phil Gilbert says, and cloud is the environment in which the new reality can be delivered.

Hybrid cloud is being used to make IT portfolio economics work and deliver faster app innovation. For example, DevOps can rapidly create and deploy a new app, microservice or AOI (Add On Instruction) across hybrid cloud that can be scaled up or down. Continuous innovation means being able to access data and analytics to extract deeper insights more quickly than ever before, allowing businesses to get closer to their customers and make smarter decisions in real-time.

Ultimately, when looking for the right cloud solution there is no one size fits all approach. Every hosting solution is unique, and every customer has requirements that revolve not only around technology, but also around support, financial and business objectives. The debate has moved on. It’s not really a matter of either/or — it’s both. A hybrid cloud provider can give you the best of both worlds, allowing the business to grow and remain competitive. 

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