The public vs. private cloud debate is one which has rumbled on for years, and one which proves to be something of a conundrum for many companies looking to optimise how they manage their IT infrastructure. There are clear benefits to both, depending on the size and specific needs of each individual business: public cloud brings the flexibility and scalability that many organisations need at an affordable, consumption-based cost, while private cloud offers all of this as well as a greater level of control and security.
Hybrid cloud arrangements have gone some way towards filling the void between public and private cloud, helping to satisfy a demand for both on-premise and remotely based cloud infrastructure. However, with this requirement for fully flexible, pay-as-you-go services continuing to increase, and regulations such as GDPR potentially turning data governance into something of a minefield, it is important that businesses have access to cloud solutions that go one step further than hybrid cloud. With this in mind, on-premises public cloud solutions can fill this gap in the market.
The old way: public or private cloud
As organisations become increasingly stretched in terms of time, resource and budget, making the move to cloud presents a sensible option: companies can rely less heavily on outdated legacy infrastructure, and passing responsibility for this area of the business to a third party frees up valuable time for IT staff to concentrate on how their department can help further the company’s business objectives as a whole. Perhaps most importantly of all, the pay-as-you-use nature of public cloud enables organisations to manage the running of their IT estate in much more of a cost-effective manner.
Despite these advantages, hosting data and networks in an external location has proven to be a bridge too far for businesses looking to keep things a little closer to home.
Private cloud has gone some way towards satisfying this demand, bringing an extra layer of security and ownership by making sure that infrastructure is hosted either on a customer’s premises or on their own dedicated network. While beneficial in many ways, it can also prove prohibitive for some companies, given the time and money that needs to be invested in getting the business environment ready for such an endeavour.
Close, but no cigar: hybrid cloud
As the cloud landscape has developed over time, the need for businesses to reap the rewards of both public and private cloud has led to the growth in popularity of hybrid models. By taking on a combination of both on-premises and third-party services, organisations have had some success in unifying the benefits of both sides of the cloud equation.
However, the nature of hybrid cloud means that companies are still compelled to invest in their own infrastructure, as well as devote a significant proportion of the IT department’s time into the ongoing upkeep of their own private cloud. While this ensures the security and peace of mind that makes private cloud so appealing, it saves the business little in terms of time and money, and means that it will continue to be bogged down by hefty capex costs that are needed to get the solution up and running.
For many organisations, both large and small, being able to access on-demand cloud without having to invest a significant amount on proprietary infrastructure is an attractive prospect. Smaller companies want their IT systems to reflect the agility they demonstrate in every other area of their business, while bigger enterprises need to be able to scale up their IT capabilities at times of peak activity.
Alongside this need for cost effectiveness and flexibility, however, is a growing desire for businesses to manage their most business-critical applications and processes much closer to home. Nothing is shining a brighter light on this than the impending arrival of GDPR.
With less than a year to go until it comes into force, GDPR will set the bar even higher when it comes to remaining compliant with data regulations. With the possibility of fines hovering over organisations that fail to put the necessary measures in place, many decision-makers will see increasing their private cloud capabilities as a priority. For this purpose, it is important that businesses look towards cloud solutions that enable fast, straightforward compliance, giving them little need to panic about the implementation of GDPR.
Public cloud on-premises: a new way forward
How can organisations achieve this greater deal of security and control, but without having to spend money and valuable IT resources on infrastructure and the ongoing management of a private cloud? The answer to this lies in the provision of fully managed cloud services that are based on-premises.
These services marry the benefits of public and private cloud in a way which goes further than a hybrid arrangement. Infrastructure is installed within the four walls of an organisation’s premises and is not shared with any other business, meaning the full benefits of private cloud are gleaned. However, this approach differs because it strips out the high capex costs associated with adopting private cloud in the traditional manner: instead, the cloud provider owns and manages the infrastructure, and is in charge of scaling the solution up or down according to the requirements of the business. Payment models are fully consumption-based, meaning that companies are not obliged to be locked into long-term contracts. This effectively marries private cloud with the benefits of public cloud, as the burden of responsibility is taken away from the IT department, but security or control are not relinquished.
This approach is not one which has yet become commonplace, but one which is certain to make a mark on the cloud landscape as the goals and requirements of businesses continue to evolve. Organisations of all sizes and across all sectors are facing increasingly fierce competition and a growing challenge to maintain competitive advantage. Innovation is key to staying ahead, and the IT department needs to seize the opportunity to play a leading part in this endeavour. An avenue through which to achieve this is by streamlining the process of cloud implementation and management: by adopting a solution that brings all the advantages of cloud, but without high capex and administration commitments, IT departments are in the best possible position to make a difference.
Kelly Murphy, Co-Founder, HyperGrid (opens in new tab)
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