We will be running a series of blogs on the steps to move to a data-driven workflow. We’re kicking things off with this is a piece around the basics; what is the cloud? What different shapes does it takes?
As a cloud first company, we have spent the last 15+ years helping many of our clients migrate not only their data but also their workflows and services into a cloud environment. In today’s world, people are using the cloud all the time – sometimes without even realising it! Whether it be to send emails, access bank accounts or stream media – all of these are utilising servers that exist outside of your own infrastructure. For many businesses, moving their applications, storage and even their services into the cloud is something that is becoming more and more beneficial for a whole host of reasons, including financial, disaster recovery plans and elasticity.
But what actually is “the cloud”?
Well, to put it simply, it is a vast network of remote servers around the globe that are linked together and operate as a single ecosystem.
These servers have multiple purposes:
- store and manage data
- run applications
- deliver content
- deliver a service – such as streaming videos, web email, office productivity software or social media
Which basically means that rather than accessing files and data from a local or personal computer, when using the cloud you are accessing them online from any internet-capable device. The information will be available wherever you go and whenever you need it – this is one of the biggest benefits of the cloud and one of the key reasons that many of our clients choose to migrate to the cloud. Enabling teams around the globe to work on the same systems, using the same data, is essential for the multi-location companies and remote working capabilities that are required by so many these days.
In the businesses world, there are four different types of cloud setups that are generally being deployed, which are:
Find out more about each of these below.
The public cloud shares resources and offers services over the internet. These are offered by third-party providers, such as Amazon, Azure or Google. These may be available as free of charge or as an on-demand service allowing customers to only pay per usage for the CPU cycles, storage or bandwidth they consume.
- faster deployment than on-premises infrastructures
- an almost infinitely-scalable platform
- every employee of a company can use the same application from any office or branch using their device of choice, as long as they can access the Internet
The biggest concerns that many companies have with utilising public cloud are around security however, providers are mitigating this with assurances around the implementation of proper security methods including intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS).
Also known as an internal or corporate cloud, private cloud computing works along the same premise as the public cloud. It offers businesses many of the benefits of a public cloud, including:
However, additional control and customisation is available from the dedicated resources over a computing infrastructure hosted on-premises.
Most importantly, private clouds deliver a higher level of security and privacy through company firewalls and internal hosting. For many businesses, this is key as it ensures that operations and sensitive data are not accessible to third-party providers. The in-house IT department hold the cost and management responsibilities, ultimately meaning that private clouds require the same resources (staffing for managing and maintenance) as more traditional data centres.
The private cloud can be delivered as two different models:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – allowing a company to use infrastructure resources such as compute, network and storage as a service.
- Platform as a service (PaaS) – a company can deliver everything from simple cloud-based applications to sophisticated enterprise applications.
Combining both public and private cloud features, the hybrid option offers business the ability to seamlessly scale their on-premises infrastructure up to the public cloud. Which has the ability to handle any overflow, without giving third-party data centres access to the entirety of their data.
The key benefits are that organisations can have the flexibility and computing power of the public cloud for basic and non-sensitive computing tasks whilst using the safety attributes that the private cloud offers. For some, this is essential for keeping business-critical applications and data on premises, behind a company firewall.
Using a hybrid cloud allows companies the opportunity to scale their computing resources, which prevents the need to make massive capital expenditures to handle short-term spikes in demand or when the business needs to free up local resources for more sensitive data or applications. The biggest win is that companies can just pay for the resources they temporarily use rather than having to purchase, program and maintain additional resources and equipment that could remain idle over long periods of time.
This provides a cloud computing solution to a limited number of individuals or organisations. Participating organisations, or third party managed service providers, govern, manage and secure the community cloud.
As a rule, those within the community cloud generally share similar security, privacy, performance and compliance requirements and the community cloud is built and operated specifically for a targeted group. The key purpose of a community cloud is for collaborative work, which requires a central cloud for building, managing and executing work. Businesses and/or organisations working on joint projects, applications, or research are the key users of the community cloud.
So what is the best “cloud” for you and your team? Well that’s where we come in! From helping you to strategise whether a migration to the cloud is the best step for you to managing how the migration should take place through to giving you the peace of mind that your operation will continue to run as you need it to, 24/7.
Ready to talk about your own cloud needs? Get in touch with the team today! firstname.lastname@example.org