image-cloud-computing-buttonLet’s face it…going to the cloud can be pretty confusing. There are many options, mixed terminology, and it is not “one size fits all.” So, what’s right for you and your business? As with many things in life, it depends.

First, let’s take a look public vs. private solutions and what it means to your business. Public cloud solutions are shared computing resources with many users or tenants. Sometimes, you are sharing a common resource such as a mail server (e.g. Google Mail or Office 365), or you could be sharing a set of servers for all your business needs such as basic file sharing, email and accounting software. In both cases, you are sharing the cloud server’s storage space (disk) and memory and CPU resources with many other users. Like an apartment building, you pay for the resources you use but all the resources are provided by the landlord including security, power, backup and the like. For many businesses, this is an excellent choice as it provides all the computing resources and infrastructure they need at an affordable price.

For other businesses, a private cloud may be required. Typically, these businesses have either regulatory issues that they need to comply with or they have a unique business application that needs special resources to run. In this situation, the business can build their own private cloud solution in-house or using resources that they rent from a third party. In the latter case, only this business is given access to the resources that they rent, and while it might reside in the same data center as a public cloud server, no other users are given access to the servers making it private. A good analogy here would be an office suite that you can build to suit your requirements. If you want ten offices, a bank of cubicles and three conference rooms, then you configure the office space to meet your needs.

The same would hold true in a private cloud environment. You are in complete control of user access and what software gets installed. If you need more storage space (disk), your private cloud allocation is expanded to meet your needs. If you need to install a new application, it is simply added. In a public cloud environment, you are typically limited to the software set that is provided and you must work within the limitations exposed by the cloud service provider. Much like in an apartment building, you cannot change the physical structure of your unit.

A third option is becoming more popular which is a blend of the public and private cloud—it is hybrid cloud computing. In this situation, you are able to leverage the best of both worlds. Perhaps you use public email servers but private servers for your unique business software applications.

Unsure whether public, private or hybrid cloud computing is right for your business, give us a call. At IT Radix, we pride ourselves on consulting with our clients and implementing the cloud solutions that are right for your business.

First published in our June 2014 IT Radix Resource newsletter