Thought Leadership

Exploring Cloud: Back to the Good and Bad

If you recall, we left off on the topic of security after discussing the different cost models associated with private and public cloud.  To recap, private cloud is capital heavy, whereas public is operational heavy; private cloud is perceived to be more secure, yet the responsibility is solely on you, while public cloud provides a shared responsibility with greater control of risk and investment in ongoing protection.  Also, let’s not forget… data is useless if it’s unavailable.

Private Cloud brings about some unique benefits that may likely never be superseded by public cloud – choice (or lack thereof), control and placement. This is especially true for the healthcare, manufacturing and financial verticals, which will all continue to have a heavy dependence on private cloud because of these features.  Manufacturing, for example, will have a need for service interactions with manufacturing-specific devices such as programmable logic controllers (PLC), or have infrastructure dispersed across locations that may or may not have connectivity capabilities.  Public cloud would not fit requirements.

Healthcare has a myriad of devices that must exist locally including, but not limited to, X-ray, CT scan, MRI and ultrasound machines that integrate with a picture archiving and communication system.  Not only is the nature of the content created by these devices highly sensitive and subjected to heavy regulation, the need for quick and responsive access is imperative to patient care.  Public cloud would not fit requirements.

Financial services, especially algorithmic trading services, must operate at milli- or even nano-second speeds where any brief latency or potential outage could yield negative returns.  As a result, these algorithms must exist on devices as close as possible to the trading exchanges to minimize latency and maximize profits.  Public cloud would not fit requirements.

Further, and at a higher and broader level, a specific hardware requirement, even something as simple as a fax card installed in a server (yes, they still exist) may negate the capability of public cloud.

Private cloud on the other hand provides greater flexibility in placement of service, choice of hardware, as well as control in what exactly private cloud is doing (i.e. hardware visibility, capability and customizability).  Public cloud can fall short in these areas.

However, in consideration of the shortcomings of public cloud control, placement, and choice, there are several key benefits including scalability and reliability that are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in private cloud. For example, Microsoft Azure spans hundreds of data centers across 50 regions, whereas most businesses consider it a luxury to have even two data centers across one region, and usually that region represents only the east and west or north and south ends of a metropolitan area.  The ability to achieve effortless scalability and reliability while minimizing cost and infrastructure overhead is therefore something only unlocked in public cloud.

Now that we understand a few of the benefits and challenges of private and public cloud, acknowledging that private cloud is NOT going the way of the Dodo, where do we go from here?  The real question is… drumroll…

How do we give IT choice in how and where to deploy services, while avoiding the need for capacity “guessing”, while keeping up with demands of the business, while being more strategic in the growth and direction of business?

Think hybrid.  Next week, we’ll explore the best of both worlds and business agility with hybrid cloud.

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