Cloud computing continues to steamroll ahead as more organizations adopt the platform. To be clear, we’re seeing an increase in how organizations are utilizing the Internet. In fact, a recent Cisco Cloud study says that cloud workloads are expected to nearly triple (grow 2.9-fold) from 2013 to 2018, whereas traditional data center workloads are expected to see a global decline, for the first time, at a negative 2-percent CAGR from 2013 to 2018.
Traditionally, one server carried one workload. However, with increasing server computing capacity and virtualization, multiple workloads per physical server are common in cloud architectures. Cloud economics, including server cost, resiliency, scalability, and product lifespan, along with enhancements in cloud security, are promoting migration of workloads across servers, both inside the data center and across data centers (even data centers in different geographic areas).
Today, there are more resources out there, better underlying systems for support, and a greater need to distribute data. All of this has created a true market desire for WAN and cloud technologies.
Now – let’s take a pause to look at the cloud provider market that’s out there. To better understand the cloud computing models – it’s important to look at the top four that are currently being offered by providers:
- Private clouds are great solutions for organizations looking to keep their hardware locally managed. A good example here would be application virtualization technologies requiring a local and private presence. Users have access to these applications both internally and externally from any device, anytime and anywhere. Still, these workloads are privately managed by the organization and delivered over the WAN down to the end-user. These private clouds can be located either on premises at an existing data center, or remotely at a privately held data center location. Either way, this private cloud topology is not outsourced and is directly managed by the IT team of a given organization.
- Public clouds are perfect for organizations looking to expand their testing or development environment. Many companies simply don’t want to pay for equipment that will only be used temporarily. This is where the “pay-as-you-go” model really works out well. IT administrators are able to provision cloud-ready resources as they need them to deploy test servers or even create a DR site directly in the cloud. With a public cloud offering, businesses can take advantage of third party providers and use non-corporate owned equipment only as the IT environment requires. This is where economies of scale truly work at its best. The ability to provision new servers and resources without having to pay for physical hardware can be a very efficient model for organizations looking to offload their hardware footprint. Still, even in a public cloud, monitoring the environment and managing resources will be very important.
- Hybrid clouds are being adopted by numerous organizations looking to leverage the direct benefits of both a private and public cloud environment. In a hybrid cloud, companies can still leverage third party cloud providers in either a full or partial manner. This increases the flexibility of computing. The hybrid cloud environment is also capable of providing on-demand, externally-provisioned scalability. Augmenting a traditional private cloud with the resources of a public cloud can be used to manage any unexpected surges in workload. This is where workflow automation can really help out. If an organization has peak usage times, they are able to offload their user base to cloud-based computers which are provisioned only on demand. This means that these resources are only being used as needed. So, for organizations still looking to keep a portion of their cloud environment private, but still use elements of the public cloud offering – moving to a hybrid cloud may be the right solution.
- Community clouds are somewhat a new breed in the cloud computing world. Many organizations are beginning to use a community cloud to test-drive some high-end security products or even test out some features of a public cloud environment. Instead of just provisioning space in a public cloud, organizations can test and work on a cloud platform which is secure, “dedicated” and even compliant with certain regulations. The really interesting part is that with a community cloud, the presence can be either onsite or offsite. Another great example would be the need to for a provider to host a specific application on a set of cloud-based servers. . Instead of giving each organization their own server in the cloud for this app, the hosting company allows multiple customers connect into their environment and logically segment their sessions. Although the customer is hitting the same server as other people for that application; the session itself is completely secure and segmented.
The reality here is that as technology and WAN-based tools expand, there will be more uses for cloud computing. Working with the right cloud model will revolve around your business needs, the future of your organization and the type of data you are looking to host. Remember, as cloud costs come down – working with a hosting provider becomes not only feasible – but very logical.