The Many Faces of Cloud – How to Choose the Right Cloud Model

Cloud computing is, no doubt, on the right side of the virtualization debate. Questions, however, remain whether a private, public or hybrid cloud is best.

 By Owen Garrett | Posted Jul 30, 2010
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Cloud computing is, no doubt, on the right side of the virtualization debate. With heavyweights like IBM estimating the cloud could reduce IT labor costs by up to 50% and the City of Los Angeles anticipating savings of more than $5 million with its move to the Google Apps – the cloud's momentum is relatively unstoppable. Questions, however, remain whether a private, public or hybrid cloud is best.  


With these different options, how does an organization choose the right cloud? Let's first take a deeper dive into the three types of clouds.

Private clouds are hosted in-house; public clouds are outsourced to a third-party; and the hybrid cloud blends both the public and private approach. When it comes to selecting a cloud model, similar to adopting any new technology, it's best to compare your organizations' needs with the available options, as each type of cloud has unique capabilities and limitations.  

Slide Show

How to Choose the Right Cloud

A closer look at the three types of cloud computing -- private, public, and hybrid

There are many definitions floating around as to what exactly a private cloud is, but essentially, it's a virtualized environment where you own all of the network infrastructure and architecture. It gives your organization complete control over the network, maintenance and security of the cloud. If you have abundant internal IT resources, your organization can build a private cloud that‘s essentially already paid for and requires very little additional investment. The private cloud builds on existing virtualizations, making it a natural evolution for an organization that has already virtualized nearly all of its data.   

For organizations handling sensitive data, like medical records or credit card details, the private cloud offers a substantial security edge. It allows maximum oversight and control over security protocols and enforcement. It also meets government compliance. After all, having direct control of the data is ultimately the only way to fully ensure that it's fully compliant with government standards.    

From a reliability standpoint, the private cloud, again, has the potential to outshine the others. With a private cloud, you have full control over fixing technical problems and can react swiftly if the cloud crashes. For this reason, the private cloud is best if you're planning to use it for storing data that's critical to your organization's livelihood – and you don't have any backups for the inevitable, hopefully occasional, outage.

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