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Private, public or hybrid – which cloud is right for your business?

Cloud computing is all about revolutionising the way businesses work by providing access to the infrastructure needed to run sophisticated applications with flexibility and agility. But there’s no single way to go about it. 

The choices available are frequently a source of confusion – is a private, public or hybrid cloud the best solution for your business? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? 
All three cloud deployment options carry similar overarching benefits – reliability, performance, scalability and cost-effectiveness – but some options are inherently better suited to certain types of businesses, or businesses of a certain size.
Let’s weigh them up.

Private cloud 

Exclusive use on a dedicated private network means more visibility and control

A private cloud, also known as enterprise cloud, can exist on- or off-premises. Either way, computing resources are used exclusively by one organisation and maintained on a dedicated private network. This means the business is responsible for management and maintenance, but can easily customise its resources to meet specific IT needs. 
Private cloud affords a higher level of visibility and control, without many of the security concerns – real or perceived – that tend to be associated with the public cloud.
High cost of ownership; scalability and mobility could be challenging 
Private cloud is an expensive option because, over time, servers need to be replaced. Scalability can be impeded by the need to make further infrastructure investments if the cloud data centre is hosted on-premises. Private cloud can also make mobile accessibility more challenging.

Works best for:

  • Large businesses that need advanced data centre technologies

  • Companies that require highly robust security with direct control over IT workloads and underlying infrastructure

  • Highly regulated industries

Public cloud

Shared infrastructure means no maintenance and lower costs

With public cloud, a third-party provider is responsible for management and maintenance and your data is stored in their data centre. All infrastructure, hardware and software is owned by that provider and shared with other organisations. 

Public cloud offers high elasticity and easy scalability at very low cost, which is why it’s by far the most popular choice.

The reduced complexity and responsibility mean less pressure on your IT resources and, with flexible pricing based on usage, your organisations can focus IT investments elsewhere. 

Costs may rise; security could be a concern

The cost of ownership with public cloud can rise exponentially with large-scale usage for larger enterprises. It also doesn’t offer the required degree of security and immediate availability for mission-critical IT workloads.

Works best for:

  • Organisations with varying resource requirements

  • Software development and test environments

Hybrid cloud

Best of both

As the name implies, hybrid clouds combine private and public clouds to offer the best of both worlds. 

Data workloads and applications can be moved between the two environments for greater flexibility. You can run IT workloads in the private cloud, augmented by public cloud resources for additional capacity to cater for spikes in demand.

This option ensures reliability (with services spread across multiple data centres), improved security without compromising on scalability for less sensitive IT workloads, and the flexibility for policy-driven deployments for distributing workloads between private and public infrastructure based on requirements.

Complexity, control and costs may be a challenge

A hybrid cloud environment requires thorough integration and total compatibility across the organisation’s cloud infrastructure. This  can be problematic for public cloud environments where there’s no direct control. 

A hybrid model invariably introduces added complexity, which can also mean additional costs – although these can be offset by paying for additional public cloud capacity only when it’s required.

Ultimately, your decision to go with a public, private or hybrid cloud deployment depends on a range of factors. It’s important to carefully weigh up the strengths and drawbacks of each before making a decision, and get some expert guidance along the way. 

Dimension Data can provision the solution that works best for your business, including managed services, regardless of vendor or hardware. Find out more.