With on-premise IT, you have the up-front costs of purchasing the hardware, in addition to the running and maintenance costs. However, by moving to hosted cloud servers or a hosted private cloud, infrastructure becomes almost entirely an operational cost.
There are usually three cloud options offered by commercial cloud hosting providers: public, hosted private and hybrid cloud. The option you choose comes down to what you’re looking to achieve from cloud hosting, and what you are using it for.
The most popular solution is public cloud. There are numerous different public clouds available, from major international players to smaller local providers. Typical applications include website hosting, especially where there is fluctuation or unpredictability in demand. They are also ideal for data back-up, disaster recovery and some business applications, such as hosted email or collaborative projects.
So let’s say, for example, you’re looking to replace an in-house web server with a cloud server in a public cloud. The cloud server is quick and easy to set up (you can usually do this online) and you’ll be able to specify various parameters such as number of vCPU’s, size of RAM, SAN storage, bandwidth and IP addresses. Most providers will also offer different levels of support and management. As well as cost benefits, you get the advantages of the cloud, which include instant scalability, flexibility and high-availability.
Hosted private cloud systems give you greater control than public clouds. They generally require more in-house expertise from clients, but are cheaper than on-premise private clouds. If you’re looking to run, say, a heavyweight ERP product, you would may well choose to put it on a hosted private cloud. It means you will need more in-house resources, but you can do a lot with it. A hosted private cloud provides high flexibility with very few limits.
Hybrid clouds enable businesses to use the flexibility, scalability and cost model of cloud combined with the security, convenience and control of in-house IT. Because hybrid cloud projects involve mixing different systems, they can soon get complex. However, the potential of hybrid clouds is massive and will deliver some interesting innovations in the future.
Peter Elgar is the Marketing Manager, CWCS, a cloud hosting provider that specialises in public, private and hybrid cloud solutions, CWCS has over 15 years’ experience in the hosting market, is ISO 27001 certified and delivers a wide range of cloud solutions.