‘Cloud’ in computing terms is by now absolutely nothing new. We casually refer to it in every aspect of our personal and professional lives and accept that that’s the way it is. We Teams, we Netflix, we Dropbox, we Gmail.
We still however talk about cloud as though it’s a physical place, somewhere we ‘put’ our files or ‘get’ our movies from. It’s not a place – there are different operational cloud models. It’s the way an organisation delivers their on-demand access to IT infrastructure and resources. As you’d expect, there’s more than one way of achieving this, typically there are four ways: public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud. We’ll explain a little more about each.
The different cloud models explained
It’s easiest to think of the cloud models in terms we’re familiar with: ‘rented’ and ‘owned’. In some cases, you’ll just want to rent some cloud space, at other times you may think it best to own it outright, but sometimes a use case will require the flexibility to do both.
What is Public Cloud?
Public Cloud = Shared, on-demand infrastructure and resources – supplied by a third party provider
Public cloud is where a third party builds and manages the infrastructure that makes cloud computing possible, and you rent a portion of this from them. The big brands in this game are Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.
If you don’t want to get into managing your own datacentre, you can use shared computing resources from these (and other) public providers. The models are designed to be fairly consumer friendly, enabling users to quickly scale up or scale down and pay accordingly. Access to the data is either via a standard internet connection, or you may agree a private connection with your public cloud provider.
What is Private Cloud?
Private Cloud = Dedicated, on-demand infrastructure and resources – a self-managed datacentre
Private cloud is where your hosted environment, as the name suggests, is private. The cloud provider operates and manages the infrastructure level, yet either you or your managed service provider have control and administrative rights. A further key element is that resources are typically accessed via a private connection and are not shared with other organisations (unless the owner opts to do so). This option might be chosen if a business wished to tightly control their own data.
As private cloud is a ‘model’, the underlying infrastructure can also be segmented and shared. A large company with many internal departments could operate their own private cloud and give each department their own separate set of cloud resources, all sitting on the same infrastructure.
What is Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid Cloud = Public Cloud + Private Cloud + Consistent infrastructure and operations
This makes the most of both models by using a combination of both resource types. The value in hybrid cloud comes from consistency. Companies invest a huge amount in their IT infrastructure over the years, swapping all this to the public cloud means not only adopting a new model but retraining staff and reconfiguring applications.
By adopting a hybrid cloud model you can make the most of existing investments plus take advantage of the automated, on-demand features of the public cloud.
What is Multi-Cloud Computing?
Multi-Cloud = Any combination of Public and Private Clouds
Sometimes it isn’t possible to use a single public cloud. Due to acquisition there could be a single app in AWS, or IT may operate Azure both on-premise and in the cloud, or DevOps may run their own Google Cloud Platform. This is the multi-cloud model, it gives the ultimate flexibility of choosing the model that best fits the organisational need.
Technology providers recognise the helpfulness of this model and offer products and services to run, manage, connect and protect any app on any cloud.
The right cloud model for you
There are many factors that influence the cloud model you ultimately choose and any one of the four options may fit best with your organisation’s needs. If you’d like us to help you in your choice we will assess your requirements and technical needs to see what solution may be right for you, taking into account budget, flexibility and sustainability. Contact us today to have a chat about what you’d like to achieve.