Businesses have been adopting cloud-based systems at an unprecedented rate, over the last three years; and it’s not surprising! The world of IT it in an immense period of flux, and with the advent of big, industry-changing capabilities like big data and machine learning, many companies have begun the massive shift towards outsourcing physical infrastructure so that IT staff can begin focusing on value-added (rather than maintenance) activities.

Cloud computing, for those a less certain on the details, is the direct delivery of computing power over a network. It could be something like cloud-based email or calendars (like those Google provides), but could easily get more complex, such as providing applications over networks (Adobe software subscriptions are a good example of this). Cloud computing can, with a creative enough mind, be used to suit almost any single computing application. It also is generally cost-saving, allows for the prioritization of funds, labor, and other resources, and can ultimately improve service delivery.

And for businesses wanting to adopt cloud computing, there are a few different deployment options available. Public, Private, and Hybrid. While that seems pretty straightforward, the pros and cons of each are a little less clear than one might think!

Public Cloud Capabilities

Public cloud services are all located off-site, and much like shared hosting, is shared between multiple companies. Shared hardware, shared data centers… everything is shared. Oftentimes this is built on OpenStack or AWS infrastructure which helps manage the computing and storage resources of individual clients. There are a lot of good reasons to utilize public cloud services: primarily, it’s usually very cheap, and easy to switch vendors. Prices for this sort of service are in a race to the bottom as more vendors come on-line, and is very easy to access even for smaller businesses.

Private Cloud Services

Private cloud computing, as the name implies, is an environment built and tailored to the needs of a specific client. It might be located on the client’s office space, or outsourced. Microsoft’s Azure cloud products are a good example of this, and while it’s usually quite expensive to run, usually has higher and better security, can also represent a significant savings, and offers better disaster-recovery options. It’s more scalable than public cloud options and more customizable.

Hybrid Cloud Services

What it says on the tin, hybrid cloud services offer the best of both worlds. There are both public and private clouds, which may interact or provide utterly separate services. Most commonly, this is used in situations where a service will require higher capabilities in bursts, which can be expanded to the public service when necessary. And there are many different major providers, from vCloud Air to EMC. This is also an option favored by enterprises which don’t have a strong IT segment in-house, and who may prefer to purchase ad-hoc services as necessary from their provider.

Which to Choose?

Which options are best for your enterprise will be greatly determined by price-point and service needs. For example, if your business handles large amounts of extremely sensitive consumer data and information, or works with government agencies, private options may be preferred because of their security. If your enterprise is a small but growing cloud-based application which end-users utilize remotely, public cloud services might be best.

In Conclusion

Whether you need to utilize cloud capabilities to meet the demand of sudden spikes in web traffic, or to hold and analyze massive datasets, there are a lot of options available! And choosing the right cloud infrastructure, especially for a business only just migrating to the cloud, can be a significant make-or-break decision.