Gavin Livingstone, Bryley Systems Inc.
Public Cloud – hosted and provided primarily by Amazon (21% market share), Microsoft (12%), Google (8%), and other large organizations1 – is growing, and many are taking advantage of its scalability, security, and availability.
However, Public Cloud services are not for everyone; for the uninitiated, they can be a confusing list of acronyms and options. For example:
- The options at Amazon Web Services (AWS) spread across 14 categories (Compute, Storage & Content Delivery, Database, etc.) with 73 different services (Amazon EC2, AWS Lambda, Amazon Route 53, etc.).
- Microsoft Azure offers 12 categories (Web + Mobile, Intelligence + Analytics, Developer Tools, etc.) with 74 services; two of which have four sub-services.
Pricing is workable; for most services, you pay for what you use with no up-front costs and (usually) no termination fees, but it is typically a per-minute billing that needs to be monitored closely (similar to electricity and other metered utilities).
Although Public Cloud vendors use top-notch security and state-of-the-art data centers, there are some considerations with Public Cloud services:
- The geographic location of data (data residency) can be out-of-country
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs) can be somewhat restrictive
- Multitenancy can lead to slowdowns and security concerns
- Support can be subpar and, potentially, offshore
Managed Clouds2 are often built on Private Cloud platforms with dedicated hardware owned by the Managed Cloud provider, although some location-indifferent Public Cloud services (like encrypted backups and Active/Passive failover3) may be incorporated. These services are customized to meet the exact needs of the client organization and are often billed at a fixed monthly fee that scales by end-user or by resource needs, rather than per-minute usage; Managed Cloud services allow the organization to focus on its business and leave the IT/Cloud management to a trusted partner.
Five reasons to consider Managed Cloud:
- Data residency can be restricted to in-country only
- SLAs can be aligned with the client’s business goals
- Technical support is typically dedicated and top notch
- The dedicated hardware in a Private Cloud can be more secure
- Proactive maintenance leads to greater optimization, reliability, and security
1For current Public Cloud market share and future predictions, please see Joe Panettieri’s article Cloud Market Share Research: AWS, Microsoft and Business Adoption from July 10, 2016 in CHANNELe2e.
2See Taylor Rhodes of rackspace® HOSTING in her June 4, 2014 article “What is Managed Cloud”.
3Please see Wikipedia’s High-availability cluster.