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Hybrid Cloud vs. Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud

Compliance in Cloud Computing.

Private Cloud, Public Cloud or Hybrid Cloud?  What to choose?

Businesses today are realizing the power and the benefits of going into the cloud and that it is no exaggeration to say that every business is in the process of moving into the cloud or seriously planning about it.

Now, there are several options to go about it.  You could use a private cloud, a public cloud or a combination of both.  Which one is the best for you?  Well, it all depends on several factors.  These factors include:

  1. How crucial are the applications that you plan to move into the cloud?
  2. What regulatory issues are there?
  3. What are the service levels you require?
  4. What are the usage patterns for these applications?
  5. What are the functions of your applications and how integrated should these functions be to the other functions of your business?

To give you an idea, here are several factors that would affect your choices.

If you have applications that are highly critical to your operations and you have to comply strictly with government regulations, then you would be best off with a private cloud that you manage internally.  This means that you would need to have your own server and storage, but you could still shift your workloads between different servers when high usage warrants it or when you set up new applications.

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Private clouds are perfect if your applications or your data are highly important to your business, for instance if you sell your applications or data, then you surely would want to keep it to yourself.  This is also good if you have the scale to run your own data center, which means you are a big company to have your own cloud data center.

If your company belongs to an industry with fewer or no regulatory issues, or you are working with data that you do not have to share or integrate with the rest of your operations, or if you need to offer services to your customers quickly, then you can take advantage of various public cloud services.  For instance, you can easily get on Amazon Web Services without repercussions on your business and operations.  You can easily start storage, compute and other services offered by that service provider as soon as you sign up.

Public clouds are very efficient but are prone to some security issues.  It is best for standard applications that are used by a lot of your employees or customers, for example e-mail.  It is also good for SaaS offerings if your service provider has a good security strategy.  It is also the best bet for collaborative projects or if you are currently developing software.

However, in reality, what is happening is that most companies are using hybrid clouds.  It could be that they have put their applications in their own private cloud, but they have a public cloud service provider on standby for those times when they need them, such as when usage spikes up.

Another scenario where hybrid clouds are perfect is when you want to use a third-party SaaS offering, but you want to be more secure.  The service provider would create a private cloud within their firewall that only you can access.  Either that, or you continue to use public cloud to offer a service to your customers but you keep your data secured within your private cloud.[/expand]

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