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Cloud Business, Public, Private or Hybrid?

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 23, 2017 11:11:00 AM / by Sarah de Castro

Sarah de Castro

Getting the low-down with corporate cloud authority, Eric Didier.

For businesses implementing a Cloud solution for their computing infrastructure, there is a choice to be made: deploying on public or private cloud… or there is always the hybrid system.100% private or 100% public, or somewhere in the middle...

We talk to OneKloud founder and corporate cloud guru Eric Didier, about how to make the best decision on Cloud infrastructure and why?

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Eric, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each Cloud setup?

“The public cloud means you don’t own your infrastructure i.e. serveurs, storage all the physical hardware needed for your company’s computing needs. It also means you don’t even rent physicals space like data centers, over the long-term. In fact, you just hire out what you need when you need it. Either via an application programming interface (API) —this is set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software— or a console from your cloud provider. Going with the public cloud means your opting for a pure Opex, that’s operating expense, rather than Capex, Capital expenditure, financing system.”

“The great thing about the public cloud is that it’s very flexible; you can deploy it in any country very quickly, and theoretically you just  pay for what you need.  Except!...  this positive is also a negative, because “just paying for what you need” isn’t really the reality. It’s impossible to forecast this expense and/ or enforce budgets. This really is the downside of the public cloud… and exactly, why we launched OneKloud.”

“The public cloud option can also raise security concerns, there is a certain risk because you’re sharing the same storage, network traffic and servers with other cloud customers. Although public cloud risks are often over-emphasised in the media, it definitely needs to be considered.”“Another thing to point out is that if  your infrastructure needs are “stable” i.e. there is no room for growth or expansion (or for that matter scaling back), and you use the public cloud then you’re paying the cloud providers’ margin without leveraging the flexibility. So in this case, using the public cloud wouldn’t be optimal -but this situation is pretty rare.”

And Private…?

“Private means you own (or rent under a long term agreement) data centers, servers and storage. Although you use an “on the fly” cloud mechanism/API for accessing your servers and shaping the resources when you need them, all is does is “virtualizes” portions of existing servers.”

“Conversely to the public cloud the advantage is you know your yearly cost. It’s Capex.Your can’t over spend. And you know where your data is.

Sounds good right? But the disadvantages are there too, you will usually end up with infrastructure that is either too big or too small.  And scaling up or down is not easy, aka, super expensive: expanding takes time -booking a new datacenter, buy and installing servers- and decreasing capacity is also difficult, imagine selling 2nd hand servers. And it doesn’t stop there, having an in house set-up also requires maintenance and a dedicated team to take care of this infrastructure,  this equals high cost. And the lack of flexibility is definitely a roadblock in today’s business landscape.

And what about the hybrid model, a mix of the two?

“The hybrid mixes both public and private. You have your private computing infrastructure and then make use of the public cloud for overflow, such as covering fast and temporarily new geographies, or for services that you can’t easy build or don’t want to build by yourself (specific big data servers, etc.). A system that actually takes the positive and negative of its two parts: it’s expensive but you do get the flexibility and the privacy,  but yes, also the maintenance and upgrade needs. It’s a double edged sword.”

Eric, What kind of factors do you need to take into account when you are making this kind of decision?

“A few things,

  • Firstly do you have any legal obligation, i.e. sovereignty of the data?

  • How flexible do you have to be

  • How much is this flexibility worth? Or how much could not having it cost you?

  • What is your predicted growth?

  • and how “predictable” is it really?  (if it’s not predictable, public is the way to go)."

Eric, it seems like many businesses are adopting a public Cloud setup, and using for example the  AWS services platform? Do you think that’s a trend that will continue? Why?

“Yes!  Today the public and private cloud are valued at about $25B per year. And the general consensus is that in 2020 this will increase to $100B. The numbers say it all. The clouds are taking the datacenter/hosting  market by storm and this is the way of the future.”

On the other hand, sometimes if a company is big enough the creation of a private cloud can make sense, check this quote from an article in Wired, last year:

Some companies get so big, it actually makes sense to build their own network with their own custom tech and, yes, abandon the cloud. Amazon and Google and Microsoft can keep cloud prices low, thanks to economies of scale. But they aren’t selling their services at cost. “Nobody is running a cloud business as a charity,” says Dropbox vice president of engineering and ex-Facebooker Aditya Agarwal. “There is some margin somewhere.” If you’re big enough, you can save tremendous amounts of money by cutting out the cloud and all the other fat. Dropbox says it’s now that big.”

Can you comment on that, Eric?

That’s absolutely spot on right. But this is only true when your growth projection (territories and volume) are predictable. If not,  it’s a gamble: you can “bet” on building a datacenter somewhere, but imagine that region never becomes profitable because your local business doesn’t grow as scheduled. Those are some pretty serious risks.

Anything to add, about the future of the Cloud…

You need to make the move: get on the Cloud! Public or hybrid but you need to be there! Be ready now, adopt, adapt, strategize: You need to find the right solution to control spending and optimize usage -this is the biggest challenge today!

Topics: Tips, AWS, Budget, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud

Sarah de Castro

Written by Sarah de Castro

Cloud-enthusiast and storyteller, Sarah is a content strategist at OneKloud. Explorer of the technology landscape, she boils down technical and complex ideas for everyday digestion (and enjoyment). With an appreciation for sophisticated simplicity, linguistics and branding, she is a global local in Paris from New Zealand.

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