Five reasons to consider Managed Cloud over Public Cloud

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:

  1. Data residency can be restricted to in-country only
  2. SLAs can be aligned with the client’s business goals
  3. Technical support is typically dedicated and top notch
  4. The dedicated hardware in a Private Cloud can be more secure
  5. 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.

Pros and Cons of Private Cloud versus Public Cloud

Cloud computing is the grouping of Internet-based computing resources to provide efficient, effective, agile access at a pre-defined price; it has been compared to a utility, where costs are metered against usage.  (Visit Wikipedia’s definition.)

Organizations turning to the Cloud can select from these deployment options:

  • Public Cloud – Available to all paying users (public)
  • Private Cloud – Restricted to a single organization
  • Hybrid Cloud – A combination of Public and Private

A Public Cloud deployment is based on a publicly-available infrastructure like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS); it could include a pre-configured service, like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Business, which are deployed on publicly-rendered networks at Microsoft and Google data centers respectively.  Being public, they are also somewhat more vulnerable to outside intrusion.

A Private Cloud deployment can be internal or external, but is typically setup on separate infrastructure that is dedicated to one organization.  For example; 911 providers (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) usually locate this service in dedicated, company-owned data centers.  Private Cloud deployments require significant, upfront investment and lack some of the expandability of a Public Cloud.

A Hybrid Cloud contains characteristics of both Public Cloud and Private Cloudstructures; it is a binding of both environments to provide the best of both worlds.

For example; Bryley Systems’ Hosted Cloud Server is a Hybrid Cloud offering that is deployed on equipment owned and managed by Bryley Systems, but is located in a secure, professional, data-center environment with significant fail-over capabilities:  The primary equipment is separate and secure, but the location provides the connectivity advantages of a Public Cloud facility.

Dennis McCafferty of CIO Insight, in his 9/30/2014 article “Pros and Cons of the Private Cloud”, states that many large organizations have deployed a Private Cloud, but even more have tried a Public Cloud deployment.

Advantages of Hybrid Cloud and Private Cloud include:

  • Greater security
  • Customized control
  • Resource provisioning