Cloud hosting basics – public cloud versus private cloud

So you’ve decided that it’s time for you to move to cloud hosting . Great! But now it’s time to weigh all the options at your disposal. The first and most basic one being, should you go public or private with your cloud?

Not sure what you should do? Don’t really get the difference between the two? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The term “cloud” is everywhere these days, but it’s a rather ambiguous term that many don’t really understand. Let’s take a look at cloud in regards to hosting and consider the differences between the public and private clouds. All in the quest of figuring out which one is the most appropriate for your business.
What is cloud hosting?
Let’s start with the basics . Cloud technology uses a computer network (generally the internet, but theoretically any sort of network) to link together a variety of devices and services. For example, when working on a cloud, you could input data on a cell phone into your organization’s database, then have someone elsewhere in your building print it to another office halfway around the country. The possibilities are as varied as the programming techniques, but the basic idea revolves around the network of devices and services and the ability to do the same things from a variety of platforms. From anywhere, at any time. You are not at the mercy of a specific device or computer. The cloud delivers what you need.

Cloud hosting is based on the same general principle of cloud computing. With cloud hosting, your website, your resources, your applications, your whole IT infrastructure, live on a virtual cloud network. As with cloud technology in general, you are not dependent on specific devices or servers – the cloud is tasked with keeping your IT infrastructure up and running and it will use all the resources available in the cloud infrastructure to make it happen.

Within cloud hosting itself, there are two types – public and private cloud hosting. Let’s take a look at them now and discuss the characteristics that can help your business decide which option to go for…

What is public cloud hosting?
Public cloud hosting maintains, secures, and runs both the hardware and the software that you use for your site or IT infrastructure. Although the allocation resources like CPU, RAM and Disk are dedicated to you, your infrastructure essentially runs on shared hardware. This allows you to keep costs down, which is why public clouds are very popular with small businesses and entrepreneurs running on a tight budget. Cloud hosting is a step up from shared hosting, offering all the power of the cloud such as scalability and redundancy, at prices that are affordable for even the smallest organization.

Let’s look at some pros and cons of public cloud hosting:

PROS:

  • Public cloud hosts tend to be extremely reliable in their data retention and ability to provide services. Even in the case of a major disaster like an earthquake or tsunami, most (or all) data will be protected by being placed in servers around the world so that no one disaster can totally destroy the system.
  • Less expensive than private cloud hosting and very affordable in general.
  • Public cloud hosting also sharply reduces maintenance costs and the need to engineer the system for optimal performance, so you won’t need to expand your IT budget to get the most of it.
  • Very powerful: redundant, scalable and hardware independent.

CONS:

  • Not customized to your personal needs. Chances are that it will do things well, but maybe not quite as well as you’d like, since the hosting company needs to service a variety of customers in different business models.
  • Resources are shared with other users. Lacks a dedicated environment just for you.

If you don’t have high resource needs or major security concerns, a public cloud will work for your business just fine. Now, which host to choose?

What you should look for in a public cloud hosting provider:

  • Consider what types of support and management options are available. If you don’t have the dedicated IT expertise in-house, it’s important to know how well you will be covered if things go awry. With our CloudTO.com public cloud offering, we take on capacity planning, maintenance, hardware layer upgrades, migrations, backup, and more, so that you can focus on your business, not on your cloud.
  • Look at the payment structure. Full on scalability is a major bonus of cloud hosting. Do you only have to pay for what you use?
  • Consider the redundancy of the cloud environment. What happens if a piece of hardware goes down? Is the infrastructure hardware independent? With Cirrus’ CloudTO, you get two separate data storages and a self-repairing environment that does not rely on any piece of hardware to run.

What is private cloud hosting?
Private cloud hosting is very similar to public cloud with one major difference – it offers a dedicated private cloud environment just for you. You’re free to do just about anything you’d like to it! If full-on flexibility and control is important to your business, then a private cloud is where it’s at. If you operate in a highly regulated industry or have very specific security concerns that stem from regulatory compliance or work with highly sensitive data, you’ll definitely want to go for a private cloud environment.

Private cloud hosting is more-or-less the opposite in advantages and disadvantages from public cloud hosting:

PROS:

  • You can have it set up exactly as you’d like! An extremely flexible solution that can be set up to meet any regulatory or operational requirements.
  • There is also less exposure on private dedicated cloud server networks; in fact, this is one of the areas where private cloud hosting really shines, since it is operated entirely on a private network and, as a result, is more secure. If your business deals with sensitive information that you don’t want to risk having exposed to others, a private cloud network can provide you with both the versatility and security you need to get things done.
  • Very powerful: redundant, scalable and hardware independent.

CONS:

  • Usually more expensive, requiring an ongoing IT budget and technical support team (but this can be offset by the cost of licensing fees)

Got data, security and compliance on the brain? Then you now know that a private cloud environment is the ideal fit for your business. So what else should you look for from your host?

What to look for in a dedicated private cloud servers set-up:
– What is the SLA like? Is it a good fit for your needs? At Cirrus, our private cloud stands apart from the competition because we offer a totally custom SLA that YOU as the client dictate. This is something the “big name” service providers, such as Amazon and Microsoft Azure, cannot offer.
– What is the storage solution at your disposal? How secure is it? At Cirrus we offer a centralized and redundant iSCSI storage solution, and full support for security and monitoring.
– What are the managed options? Are they able to assist your business with expert support and assistance in disaster recovery, security and back ups?

So, what’s the easy way to decide on going public or private with your cloud? Think about your resources and what you truly need to do. The more important security and customization is, the more likely you’ll want to go private, but if you’re just working on general things and can live with what most people are using, then public cloud hosting is a completely reasonable option.

So to sum up…

A public cloud is perfect for your business if:

  • You’re a small or cost-conscious business with efficiency being of #1 importance
  • You’re not dealing with extremely sensitive data or regulatory compliance issues and don’t have heavy-duty security requirements
  • You need a highly reliable solution that puts the integrity of your data and your presence first
  • You don’t need a fine tuned, highly customized cloud service
  • You don’t have a team of IT experts in house to manage your infrastructure

A private cloud is the ideal fit for you if:

  • You’re a business dealing with highly sensitive data
  • You work in a high regulated industry that requires regulatory compliance
  • You’re looking for a personal setup to your cloud service that requires high customization

Ready to get your business riding high on the cloud? Click to learn more about Cirrus’ public cloud hosting Canada wide and dedicated private cloud servers . Or just get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and help you make the transition to the cloud.