Why is everyone talking about the Cloud?
Even a casual look at technical and business media demonstrates just how much hype exists around the concept of cloud computing. There is a very strong voice about the advantages of cloud services and major players including IBM, Google, Microsoft and Apple are promoting their product credentials at a business and consumer level as frequently as possible.
It is very clear that the big players see cloud services as a major opportunity to increase profits and are very busy rolling out new technology solutions to meet evolving requirements. What is also clear is that whilst the cloud services agenda is being pushed strongly by the media, the real world benefits to business and consumers are not fully understood. We think that smaller Service Providers have a unique ability to engage with businesses about the cloud.
Cloud computing changes the way computing services are delivered by Service Providers to end users and customers. Provisioning computing capacity and services in the cloud can greatly simplify IT management where the user pays only for resources they require.
Computing power and service access is usually scalable and can be increased or decreased elastically in line with evolving needs. In a sense, the user rents only required resources and cloud services become an operating expense rather than a capital expense. Internal IT resources are also freed up from managing cloud based resources and instead can focus upon core business initiatives.
What’s the difference between Public and Private Cloud Computing? Does it matter?
Firstly, these are fairly technical concepts not often understood in business discussion around cloud computing. According to leading technology analyst Gartner, Cloud is a style of computing where “scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided as a service to customers using Internet technologies. Intense hype surrounds cloud computing, making it difficult to understand vendor options and strategies”.
Public Cloud services are delivered through the public Internet, are generally accessed through a standard Internet connection and are supplied from shared resources to a diverse user base. The Internet is basically a conglomeration of networks allowing people to access content anywhere and at anytime. The information is free and accessible but is not necessarily secure or private.
A home user accessing an Internet mail service like Gmail or document sharing through Dropbox is an example of every day public cloud computing. Examples for business are Salesforce or Microsoft 365 services.
Unlike public cloud, private services can be provisioned on either shared or dedicated infrastructure. Private cloud computing also differs from public cloud because the service is limited to a specific customer or user groups. User access typically occurs through private network links which are segregated from the public Internet. This enhances security, ability to control performance and user experience as well as resourcing and capacity management.
Where a business requires more secure access or greater control of information and resources, private cloud computing is the more appropriate option. For example, a company wishing to provide cloud services specific to their own enterprise or user base such as the travel or finance industry.
Where privacy and management of resources and user experience matter most – private cloud computing is the superior choice.