Public, Private, Hybrid: Why it Takes All Types to Answer ‘What is Cloud?’

Author

Owens, Ken

May 23, 2013

Ask anyone in technology circles, “What is cloud?” and you’ll get a handful of different answers. But the responses will likely all relate back to three key models: Public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud.   Businesses need to be aware of how these models can fit into their strategies.

We know from this independent survey conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne for Savvis that IT leaders are shifting their views on cloud computing – and broader IT outsourcing.  About 60 percent of leaders agreed that owning IT infrastructure wasted resources, compared to just 38 percent two years earlier.

Not surprisingly, given these figures, a huge percentage of organizations have shown an air of regret around the purchasing of IT equipment.  Equally significant, as these organizations shift to cloud and outsourcing, we’re seeing CIO mindshare now center on more strategic concerns.

Organizations view outsourcing – particularly to the cloud – significantly for cutting their IT budgets and avoiding future regrets. But as these organizations move to cloud-centric IT models, there are real-world business needs and other factors that make operating a single environment not practical. That’s why it’s critical IT looks before it leaps to cloud and evaluates its public, private and hybrid options.

The reality is many companies still need physical dedicated hosting for legacy applications that cannot run in a virtualized environment. But at the same time, new applications are being written for virtualized environments, and accordingly, companies want and need access to private and public clouds.

When considering all the types of applications that a business has and how many of them need to work together, the need for hybrid cloud solutions becomes strongly apparent.

Take, for example, a web-centric application. If it experiences fluctuating demand, we may recommend it be housed in a public cloud environment that provides the best economics and required elasticity. If the application is in more steady state and can be run in a virtualized environment, then we might recommend a private or dedicated cloud environment. If performance is vital, like running a business-critical database, then we would suggest a physical dedicated managed hosting environment.

Organizations will always want to do more with less. But they should be mindful of their options and look for partners that understand both the realities of their existing infrastructure and their long-term business objectives and challenges.

Ken Owens is chief scientist at Savvis, a CenturyLink company.

 

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