Last week we outlined the pros and cons of a private cloud, and covered public clouds the week before. This week hybrid cloud gets the same treatment from our MD, Mark Boost…

HYBRID CLOUD

A hybrid cloud is, as you might expect, a blend of private and public cloud infrastructures. This hybrid approach combines the advantages of the scalability and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud with the dedicated resources and power of a private infrastructure.

By way of an example, a typical hybrid cloud deployment might be hosting your key live environment (such as an Exchange or SharePoint) within a private cloud, but sending archive data to the public cloud where you could make use of lower-cost and lower-performance storage.

Another example: you might need guaranteed server resources for an important application or for database which for performance reasons can’t be virtualised and therefore needs to be completely private. This would rule out a traditional public cloud, but with a hybrid deployment you could use a public cloud infrastructure for other elements that could still be virtualised.

In the examples above you would probably want to encrypt the data on anything stored on a public cloud and inter-cloud latency would have to be considered so it doesn't degrade your performance.

The hybrid approach really works better when using a Virtual Private Cloud (“VPC”) within the same data centre (or at least one quite local), instead of a public cloud because of the potential latency issues. For example, most of Amazon and Microsoft services are hosted in Dublin, so if your private cloud is located in the UK you’re more than likely going to run into latency issues.

PROS

  • Offers the advantages of the best parts of a public and private cloud infrastructure
  • Offers a more flexible approach to managing your IT
  • Less expensive than a private cloud

CONS

  • More expensive than a public cloud
  • Can be more complicated and time consuming to set-up

IDEAL USES

  • For companies who prefer to maintain more control over their IT by using a private cloud, but are willing to use a public cloud for less mission-critical activities
  • For larger companies who have multiple applications, some of which can be run in a public cloud and others which must stay private owing to, for example, information governance

VIRTUAL PRIVATE CLOUD (“VPC”)

I briefly mentioned VPC in the hybrid section above and I think it’s worth just touching on the benefits of a VPC despite it not being specifically mentioned in my blog title. However, I think it’s an extremely valid option which is often overlooked.

In many respects a VPC is like a public cloud: it’s still a shared multi-tenanted environment, but usually comes with a number of enhanced security features to ensure maximum security is provided.

In my opinion a true VPC should be able to provide complete segregation between customers and be able to guarantee key resources (such as RAM).

It’s also my belief that if any infrastructure is going to be truly private, people shouldn't just be able to sign-up online with a credit card and start using it. As a VPC is essentially still a multi-tenanted environment I believe it’s important to carry out background checks on the customers before on-boarding them, thus avoiding any high-risk entities being hosted which potentially could attract the wrong kind of attention.

PROS

  • Much lower cost than a private cloud
  • Provides all the benefits or a public cloud, but with increased security and control
  • Ideal for deploying within a hybrid cloud environment, where everything must remain private

CONS

  • More costly than a public cloud, but probably less so than you may think

IDEAL USES

  • Perfect for environments where privacy or security is of great importance.
  • Hosting applications which may require a more tailored solution than a public cloud can offer, but without the higher cost of a fully private cloud

SUMMARY

There is no golden rule as to which type of cloud environment is best: each platform has its positive and negative points. They all have their place and for me it really comes down to understanding your own needs and balancing these against the budget you have. At ServerChoice, we provide all cloud types apart from a public cloud. Instead we invested heavily into a VPC that offers the same flexibility but is much more secure. We believe this strikes the perfect balance when it comes to performance, reliability, security and cost.