Which Cloud is Right for Your Business?

A cloud is not just a cloud. Just look up into the sky on any given day and you’ll notice a wide variety of sizes and unique characteristics that define each type. For example, there is the stratus variety. These clouds are very horizontal and are usually seen at lower altitudes. They often mean rain or snow, depending on the temperature. Cirrus clouds, on the other hand, are high-altitude clouds. They are thin and wispy and conjure up images of castles in the sky. Cumulus clouds are those fluffy, puffy, clouds that look perfect in a deep blue sky. They pile up like giant cotton balls and are common in the early afternoon on warm days. Cumulus clouds complete the perfect sky for a western movie’s panoramic shot.

There are other types of clouds that have nothing to do with the weather but are nevertheless just as common. For example, there is the private cloud, the public cloud, and the hybrid cloud. If you’re thinking about modernizing your data protection infrastructure, it’s hard not to consider any of these clouds as being just as important as the ones overhead. Do you know the difference between the clouds that can protect your data?

Public clouds: One of the most common clouds. Public clouds are economical for large and small businesses looking for a third-party to manage applications, data, or both. Mozy by EMC is a good example of a public cloud service. With a public cloud, the servers, storage, network infrastructures, and applications are shared across a broad set of subscribers. Advantages of the public cloud include little to no capital expenditure and speed of deployment.

Private clouds: Just as the name implies, a private cloud is dedicated to one organization’s sole use. Unlike for a public cloud, the servers, storage, network infrastructures, and applications that comprise the private cloud are used only by one organization. EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is a common building block of many private clouds. Those who use the private cloud enjoy similar storage benefits to the public cloud, but there are advantages, including more control and proximity of deployment within your own data center.

Hybrid clouds: These consist of both public and private clouds. Servers, storage, network infrastructures, and applications are owned and managed by both the organization’s IT staff and third-party service providers as needed. Just as the name implies, this approach to the cloud means that some of an organization’s IT infrastructure resides in the public cloud and other components reside in the private cloud. An example of a hybrid cloud architecture is running mission-critical Tier-1 applications within your private cloud, while older data is sent to a public cloud for long-term retention (LTR). By combining private and public cloud resources, IT can leverage both traditional and next-generation applications and data together in a way that benefits end users and increases IT efficiency.

Data protection will always be an important area of concern for IT managers and will continue to be at the forefront of IT priorities. Fortunately, the different types of cloud—public, private, and hybrid—provide the flexibility most organizations need to back up, access, and protect their data. Regardless of which cloud works best for you, cost, manageability, information access, business continuity, security, growth, and more make the cloud a smart choice for any business. With such a wide variety of clouds, there are multiple approaches to enabling the agility your business needs while reducing operating costs. That’s the beauty of the cloud.

About the Author: Brian Heckert