Cloud 101

The Three Types of Clouds

A public cloud provisions virtual machines (VMs) on servers located at a third-party site. All sys admin services are provided by the third party, including security, connectivity, data access, and backup/recovery. Since resources are available on demand, this is the most cost-effective solution. But the public cloud doesn’t address concerns with security or the need to acquire special skills for the cloud.

A private cloud uses virtualization similar to a public cloud, but all resources are dedicated solely to one client. Sysadmin services can be performed either by a third-party provider or by a company’s own IT staff. The company still owns and maintains all VMs, regardless of where they operate. A private cloud addresses most of the CIO’s concerns, although it does not deliver as much cost savings as the public cloud.

A hybrid cloud combines the advantages of both public and private clouds. Non-mission-critical data can be moved to the public cloud, lowering the cost of keeping it in-house, while not exposing the company to many risks. Sensitive data can stay within the private cloud under close control. As expected, costs are lower than a private cloud but higher than a public cloud.

What Holds Back Cloud Adoption?

Make no mistake about the cloud watchers. Though cautious, they are far from indecisive. They know what complexities lie buried in the digital depths of their departments. So the notion of moving sensitive data off-site seems like a radical overhaul of the IT infrastructure they worked so hard to build.

For these CIOs, allowing a third party to manage mission-critical data brings up some significant concerns, including:

• Privacy and security
• Legacy application support
• Availability and reliability
• Licensing costs
• Flexibility

More in the next article on each of these concerns – stay tuned!