Cloud computing has transformed the way we obtain services. We no longer use some software to access our bank balance or share your calendar with a friend to fix a meeting. All the operations happen in the cloud if we have a decent web connection.
Consumers are fond of the cloud, and so does businesses of all sizes. According to the annual Tech Forecast Survey conducted by Computer World, 79% of respondents mentioned that they are currently engaged in a cloud project or have one planned; 58% of responders, who already conducted cloud migration, rated the cloud-based system effectiveness with an A or B for delivering business value.
Why Migrate to the Cloud?
Considering that you have great on-premises IT infrastructure, the cloud migration process may seem like a costly, unnecessary measure at first. Hence, it’s important to understand what the difference between cloud-based services vs. on-premises applications is.
there are five important characteristics of cloud computing:
- On-demand self-service: once cloud services are integrated, you can upgrade and downgrade them as needed without the cloud service provider being involved. Meaning, you can account for new users, virtual machines or services at any time, with changes taking place instantly.
- Resource pooling: the flexibility of the cloud-based model assumes there’s always some shared resources to tap into as needed.
- Broad network access: the cloud can be accessed over the Internet from any device, as opposed to using private connections for accessing an on-premises solution.
- Measured service: you pay only for the resources you consume e.g. gigabytes of storage, CPU cycles or any other indicator being measured. You don’t need to pay for “dormant” infrastructure that is currently not in usage.
- Rapid elasticity: the cloud capacity can expand or contract depending on your current needs and you will only pay extra whenever the need expands.
Before going into the tech specs, let’s take a look at the different cloud deployment models:
Choosing the Right Type of Cloud
That’s your exclusive virtual infrastructure. It is provisioned for usage by a single company, yet multiple business users (consumers). This is the top choice for organizations that want to take advantage of the cloud architecture without giving up the control over having a private data centre. Private clouds can be hosted both on and off premises.
Additionally, it’s important to distinguish between the next three types of private clouds:
- Software-only solutions are an organic extension of your existing hardware. This solution automates resources supply; manages access to the infrastructure resources and monitors usage. These clouds can be built atop of VMware infrastructure.
Examples of software-only private clouds providers: CA Technologies, Cisco, Dell, Egenera, EMC, Hotlink, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Joyent etc.
- Pre-integrated converged systems stand for a combined bundle of hardware and software packages, which includes:
- Converged infrastructure hardware stack with compute, network and storage resources.
- Management software with automation capabilities.
For a lot of companies, this is the easiest route for cloud adoption as it offers them a relatively simple and fast path towards adopting cloud architecture.
Examples of pre-integrated converged system providers: BMC, Cisco, CSC, Dell, EMC, Hitachi, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Microsoft, and others.
- Managed Private Cloud system also assumes purchasing a hardware/software bundle from a vendor. The solution will be allocated on your premises; however, the vendor manages it. Specifically, the vendor will provide maintenance, support, upgrades and even remote management if needed. That’s an ideal option for companies without the in-house expertise.
Examples of managed private cloud vendors: Citrix, Cisco, CSC, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Mirantis, Rackspace.
Bonus Point: Build a Private Cloud Yourself. You can take advantage of the best cloud tools that are open-source and deploy your own cloud. Specifically, you can use a platform like OpenStack or Apache CloudStack. However, you will need to hire experienced developers for such project with relevant background.
The general public could use this type of cloud infrastructure. You share computing resources with other tenants, yet your data remains isolated from the “neighbours”. A public cloud may be owned and managed by any type of organization, yet the cloud exists on the premises of the cloud provider.
Examples: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM’s Blue Cloud and Sun Cloud, Windows Azure Services Platform and Google AppEngine.
Hybrid solutions take the best of two worlds, meaning your cloud environment consists of a private cloud section or on-prem solution and a public cloud section with mediation between these two platforms.
Here’s an example to illustrate the point. Your company is conducting big data analysis to improve customer experience. To save on-prem storage, you can use a private or hybrid cloud to keep all the accumulated business data and deploy analytical queries in the public cloud.
In this case, you don’t need to scale on-premises systems to support distributed computing tasks.
While private cloud still remains a top choice among the business owners, the latest Clutch Cloud Computing survey revealed that 80% of respondents are now exploring the hybrid cloud as a future option due to its versatility and the possible cost savings.