Evaluating cloud solutions: The pros, cons, and use cases for the public cloud
If your organization is like most, you use the cloud in some capacity. The continuing growth and adoption of cloud computing is expected to generate $1 trillion in IT spending by 2020.
But even those well-versed in the cloud overall may miss some of its nuances. There are a variety of cloud options available to help your organization grow, and better acquainting yourself with each could introduce you to better options for your strategic plans.
In this five-part series, we hope to expand your knowledge on the different cloud solutions available. Beginning with this post, we’ll introduce you to the different types of cloud and give you some helpful information on each one. Let’s start with unmanaged public cloud.
The perks of unmanaged public cloud
Each cloud model has its strong suits, which make them preferable to certain organizations. For unmanaged public cloud, three stand out:
- Public cloud is owned and operated by a third party
Public clouds are owned by providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, amongst others. Because the providers own the resources used to create their offerings, public cloud doesn’t require any hardware or facilities investments. As a result, you can focus on your strategic initiatives instead of managing the infrastructure.
- It’s simple, easy-to-use, and available on-demand
Users have grown accustomed to simple, instant access to information, applications, and data on their mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and computers. These same individuals now want a similar user experience in their professional lives as well. Public cloud offers on-demand delivery of IT resources through a self-service catalog similar to what the Google Play Store does for mobile applications.
- It has superior agility, scalability, and availability
Public cloud deployments offer better agility, scalability, and availability than private or hybrid cloud, so organizations can rapidly provision IT resources in a matter of minutes with automation and orchestration tools. In addition, you can handle spikes and support growth easily without expensive changes to your IT infrastructure using the public cloud’s unlimited supply of resources. With several layers of built-in resiliency and various geographical locations, more and more organizations utilize the public cloud to achieve higher levels of uptime.
Some problems public cloud can face
Despite all its advantages, the public cloud may not be the best fit for everyone. There are a few common reasons you might turn away from public cloud:
- Platform dependencies and vendor lock-in
Vendor lock-in continues to be a major hurdle in public cloud adoption. Each provider builds its own proprietary solutions and the differences among the various offerings make it difficult to switch. Some migrations require that the data be transferred back to the customer’s site or altered for compatibility before the new cloud provider accepts it. To get around this cumbersome process, look for cloud solutions that support industry standards and offer data migration tools.
- Multi-tenant, shared infrastructure
Public cloud allows multiple tenants to consume services using shared infrastructure and resources. While this multi-tenancy model lowers overall cloud costs, companies can experience performance issues when multiple organizations access the same resources at the same time. An action or outage can cause a domino effect throughout the cloud, affecting multiple users. Additionally, commingling data may create a security hazard that is of concern for larger enterprises.
- Unpredictable costs
If your organization needs predictable pricing, the public cloud might not be a feasible option. Often, cloud applications have limited feature sets when compared to the full version of the software solution, and adding in the missing features can increase costs by leaps and bounds. Unpredictable workloads too can lead to high bills as application usage increases. While transferring data to the public cloud is free, companies with outbound data transfer requirements will be saddled with additional fees.
Putting public cloud to use
The best way to choose what type of cloud is right for you is to determine what you plan to use it for. Public cloud can be used in many ways, but here are some of the more common use cases:
- Proof of concept and untested workloads
Organizations use the public cloud for a proof of concept and untested workloads because it enables them to follow the mantra “fail fast, fail cheaply.” You can avoid capital expenditures associated with new workloads, such as hardware, by utilizing the public cloud to test applications at scale, work out any bugs, and validate the degree at which the application or its features may succeed in the market. Once an application enters a steady state, it may be moved to a private environment.
- Software development and testing
Last year, IT organizations spent $300 billion on development and testing worldwide, but wasted approximately 50 percent of that amount in the typical on-premises dev/test deployment process. As software, application developers, and technology become more critical to the services the world relies on, more organizations are shifting their development and testing environments to the public cloud. There, it’s easier to avoid application deployment processes that require too many manual steps and fixed hardware that lacks agility and geographic availability. Public cloud also enables organizations to attract new dev talent, optimize their infrastructure costs, and improve product quality.
- Big data and analytics
Companies are storing and analyzing data sources for everything from traffic patterns to social media and everything in between. The data is then used to optimize their operations and infrastructure, and modify existing products and services to satisfy changing customer demands. It’s estimated that over 40 zettabytes of data will be created by 2020, which means organizations need tools like the public cloud to manage their data and analytics requirements.
Ready to adopt the public cloud?
The public cloud services market is expected to reach $247 billion in 2017. Its adoption is on the rise, and its use is increasingly inescapable for organizations of all sizes. Contact your SHI account executive to learn more about how you can benefit from utilizing the public cloud.