94% of businesses use at least one type of cloud computing, and it’s estimated nearly a third of IT budgets are dedicated to cloud services. It’s likely that you, your suppliers, your clients, and your competitors are all using cloud, so you need to ensure that you are using the right cloud solution for your company.
Cloud computing is a label that covers a wide variety of IT solutions, so choosing between them requires research and a complete understanding of what the different cloud platforms can provide your company.
Cloud computing is the process of using remote IT infrastructure for your computing needs. This covers a wide range of different applications and services, and you will regularly interact with several different cloud services over the course of your day.
To learn more about this, read our blog What is cloud computing? With examples
While cloud services can take on a limitless number of different variations, they are grouped into three broad categories, to help define the type of cloud which is best for certain scenarios. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and which one is the best fit for you depends on your system requirements and capabilities.
These cloud categories are:
Private Cloud – Using infrastructure dedicated to you, that you control
Public Cloud – Using infrastructure owned by someone else, often shared with other cloud users
Hybrid Cloud – A mix of public cloud with a private cloud or private infrastructure
Private cloud is the most straightforward category of cloud, as it is cloud computing infrastructure that a company has set up for its own use. It’s a solution only available to larger companies who can afford the investment to purchase the required equipment, and have the IT expertise in-house to operate it.
A company can also launch a private cloud which they host within a data centre; this has the added benefit of having the power, cooling, and network infrastructure supplied by your data centre partner. The engineers at the data centre can also help with guidance and the operation of the cloud. This support is especially important if your team is doing a complete system transition.
If a company is willing to take on the responsibility of running their own cloud, there is a range of benefits they can take advantage of. These benefits can be summarised in the form of control, reliability and security:
Control – Since you are responsible for the operation of the hardware, you can configure it however you want, with the capacity to meet your company’s needs. You also have complete freedom to make changes to it.
Reliability – Since the equipment is dedicated to only you and not shared with other companies, there is no risk of other users taking up the system’s capacity leading to slow speeds.
Security- Because you don’t have to share the cloud platform with other users, and you control where the equipment is hosted, the data you store on your cloud is much more secure than a public cloud provision.
Public cloud is a good option for smaller companies, or for projects that do not require intense resources. You share resources with other users when using public cloud, which is its biggest disadvantage as this can cause performance and security issues. However, the flexibility and low cost of public cloud means a lot of companies continue to trust this shared service:
Public cloud’s definition – cloud infrastructure owned by someone else – is very broad, so public cloud is further split into three categories:
If you want to learn more, as well as see some examples, read our blog: What are IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, and how do they impact Cloud?
Our CEO's video presentation on What is the Cloud? which covers the different cloud platforms, including IaaS, PaaS, and Saas.
4D Data Centres provide expertly managed cloud solutions, including public cloud, which comes with access to our public cloud portal.
One of the most common concerns with public cloud is the potential loss of control; 4D have responded to this and designed a portal which maximises your control to eliminate that worry:
Our Public Cloud Portal Demo:
Hybrid cloud is arguably the broadest of the three categories, since it covers every type of cloud where a public cloud provision has been combined with any other type of infrastructure. A hybrid cloud can be any combination of two or more of:
There are a lot of advantages to hybrid cloud; it is the solution that allows you to craft an entirely bespoke system
There are lots of different places to store your data, and each has its benefits and disadvantages, which is why a lot of companies utilise a lot of different infrastructure solutions, and then unite them through a hybrid cloud. To better understand the different storage options, watch our video:
Check out our product pages to get a detailed explanation of the different types of cloud, but below we have provided an overview:
Public Cloud – Best for smaller companies that do not have the capital to invest heavily in new IT equipment, but plan to grow rapidly in the near future.
Private Cloud – Best for larger companies that need secure platforms and cannot afford to have slow speeds/ downtimes caused by shared resources.
Hybrid Cloud – Best for companies that require the security and reliability of private cloud (or their own infrastructure), but also have fluctuating demands on their applications, meaning they have a need for the flexibility of public cloud.
Is cloud your only option?
Cloud computing grew rapidly over the last few years, but what has also grown is the number of companies repatriating their system off the cloud and back to privately owned infrastructure. There is a wide range of reasons for doing this, but the most commonly cited reasons are:
To assess whether your company should take systems off of the cloud, or avoid using it, read our blog: Disadvantages of cloud computing and why you should take systems off the cloud.
Cloud computing, particularly public cloud, is valuable because it allows companies to achieve computing capacity they can’t host in-house, and couldn’t otherwise access. This extends to High-Performance Computing (HPC), which offers never-before-seen computing power, but is currently out of reach for most companies, despite having use for it.
Cloud services have made a lot of progress in recent history for companies who cannot afford to invest heavily in building their own supercomputer.
"HPC is revolutionising every industry"
Utilising a HPC cloud in the next few years will likely be how your company gains access to such a valuable resource.
Read our blog: Is enterprise HPC moving to the cloud?
"Cloud has become an essential part of the modern business world."
With the range of services offered within Public, Private, and Hybrid cloud, there is an ideal solution out there for every company.
Deciding which cloud platform is the best fit for your company is an important decision, and it isn’t one to make once and then forget about. Cloud technologies, as well as a company’s requirements, are constantly evolving and changing.
Ensure you are regularly reviewing your cloud platform, and making sure it is still the right fit for your company. This is particularly important if your business is growing rapidly, since this can quickly make you outgrow your public cloud, and make private, or hybrid, cloud your ideal solution.
If you think that your business would benefit from utilising the cloud, then you can check out 4D’s Cloud Services to compare us to other cloud providers.
We offer a full suite of cloud solutions, guaranteeing that you will find your ideal platform with us. If you just want some advice on which cloud is best for you, feel free to get in touch, or ask us about our 30 day free public cloud trial, to test how we could support your business.