Cloud adoption is now the norm as nearly 9 out of 10 companies prefer cloud solutions, but many IT professionals are still asking, “Which cloud computing environment is best for my organization?” Interestingly enough, many organizations are using the “cloud” now and may not realize it — a private cloud, better known as an on-premises computing environment that’s supplied, deployed, and maintained internally.
Of course, discussions about cloud migration typically revolve around moving to a public cloud environment, in which computing services are offered and maintained by a hosting provider (e.g., Microsoft’s Azure or Amazon Web Services). Many organizations opt for a hybrid cloud environment that gives organizations the best of both private and public clouds.
So there’s a choice to be made: Should you stay in a private cloud or migrate to a public cloud? What about a hybrid cloud? While a private cloud does offer some benefits (a more secure computing environment, increased performance, and direct access to resources), there are disadvantages as well.
Let’s review the common headaches most organizations have with private cloud environments, and how public cloud offerings can give your organization some relief.
1. Runaway capex costs
Controlling your environment exclusively means any and all costs are your responsibility. This may prove a burden to businesses, especially smaller ones, because costs tied to periods of nonuse, as well as power and cooling, cannot be recouped. Growing companies that use a private cloud get hit with a double whammy: Scaling up an on-premises solution can be very expensive and difficult because of space issues and limited budget allocations.
Shifting to a hosting provider (or colocation) allows businesses to eliminate or reduce these expenses, and drastically change the cost structure of their environment from a capital to operational expense model. Though the environment remains private, a hosting provider likely offers better economies of scale and more favorable monthly pricing. The shift to an opex cost structure can result in more steady computing growth and transparent costs.
2. Finding the talent to run your on-premises environment
On-premises environments maintained by an internal IT staff pose a problem for many organizations. As the technology evolves, staff must be properly trained to operate and maintain it. However, IT may be short staffed and lack the experience to oversee these new systems. In many cases, current technology issues may prevent this training from being properly addressed, as bringing on new services may require more advanced training on vendor-specific devices.
Running to a public cloud offering strips away some of these IT management problems, and instead allows IT to focus on other internal issues. Plus, adopting a public cloud offering or colocation services reduces the need to constantly manage data.
3. Disaster recovery is iffy
Many organizations on private clouds are still backing up using tape, which is a good enough system until it isn’t. A natural disaster or harsh weather could occur at any time, which proves problematic for organizations running a private cloud environment and backing up to tape. If data is being stored on premises during a natural disaster, that information is at risk of being damaged or lost completely. And, of course, tape is expensive to maintain and is in danger of becoming an obsolete technology.
Using a hosting provider or hybrid cloud are potential solutions that offer off-site data storage and recovery options. Data stored in the public cloud adds another level of redundancy for organizations that already use colocation, often referred to as 3-2-1 protection: three backups, two locations, one physical location.
4. The resources game is tough
Having all the equipment and software close at hand is great, but what happens when you need to acquire more? Depending on your organization, the procurement process could restrict the growth of your environment because it disables IT from quickly implementing services. By using a hosting service or hybrid cloud offering, additional services can be scaled up fast — really at the click of a button — and at a lower cost than purchasing the hardware.
Let’s consider one more aspect of the resource game — accessing data. Storing files on-premises allows for easy access to that data, but it eats up valuable space and old files crowd the infrastructure. Public cloud offerings allow for policies and rules that say if files haven’t been accessed in 90 days, they become legacy and are stored in the cloud, freeing up space on your in-house infrastructure.
Take two Advil, and consider a public cloud
A majority of organizations use a public cloud, even if the technology isn’t thought of in that way. Because public cloud offerings are now more reliable, cheaper, and safer, many organizations are either moving into a public cloud entirely or adopting a hybrid approach. But is that right for your organization? Some verticals still hang onto private clouds based on compliance concerns, but many public cloud offerings are now in compliance for the health care or payment processing verticals, for example.
It’s true that the private cloud offers organizations some advantages, but a public cloud component to an IT infrastructure can reduce costs, ensure data security and protection, and free up resources. Though some of these common headaches of cloud management may linger a bit, adopting a public cloud solution will ensure smoother operations and less maintenance of your IT environment.
Do you need help deciding whether private, public or a hybrid cloud solution will suit your organization’s needs? Contact your SHI Account Executive today.