Recently, I was surprised to find out that there is still a lot confusion surrounding the words we use when talking about cloud. References to “public,” “private” and “hybrid” clouds are so common that it’s easy to take for granted the fact that you will be understood. However, if Forrester’s recently released article in Computer Weekly defining the private cloud is any indication, these terms can be far more confusing than we realize.
In light of this, I’d like to examine what we mean when we talk about different cloud deployments, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
What cloud flavor will satisfy you?
When most people talk about “the cloud” they are referring to a public cloud like that provided by Amazon Web Services, Google or Microsoft. Most public clouds can be customized with different services, tools and development platforms (including platform as a service). At its core, however, the public cloud is a pretty simple product: server space in the cloud provider’s data farms that can be accessed through the internet.
The key thing to remember about the public cloud is that it is “public.” Most public cloud providers will not offer a direct connection to their services. This means that anyone with the right credentials can access your data, and if the connection isn’t secure, your data could be intercepted.
The promise of the private cloud is to offer all of the advantages of the public cloud without the security risks. You host on your own servers rather than Amazon or Google. In practice, the private cloud is a bit more complicated than that. Forrester’s first fact about the private cloud is that “cloudwashing”—labeling products as cloud services when they’re really not—is rampant.
Simply having a server on site does not mean you are using the cloud. When building a private cloud, it’s important to keep the core components of the cloud in mind: self-service access, tracking and monitoring of resources, and automation. If you want to set up a private cloud keep in mind that the responsibility of maintenance and regular updates falls on you.
The hybrid cloud is exactly what the name implies—a two-pronged approach that combines the advantages of both public and private clouds. By taking a hybrid approach, companies are able to combine the security and control of the private cloud with the ease of use offered by the public cloud. Even better, for companies that are already using a public cloud, a hybrid approach offers them a path to their private option.
Forrester is quick to point out that hybrid adoption can be slow due to the massive task of getting two platforms to talk to each other, migrating data between the public and private sections, and providing a seamless experience throughout. Luckily, many PaaS offerings, including Progress® Pacific™, have hybrid cloud options as a core feature in addition to options for hosting on entirely public or private environments. So, by adopting a good PaaS, it isn’t hard to start working in the cloud, whatever flavor it may be.
As the senior director of product marketing and strategy for the Progress solutions and audience marketing team, Paul Nashawaty keeps his eyes peeled on what enterprises are doing about big data as it relates to digital transformation. Paul is responsible for applying practical business methodologies using technological solutions to drive success in organizations.
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