The term ‘cloud computing’ comes up a lot these days when discussing IT solutions, and with the potential benefits associated it’s not too hard to understand why. What can be harder to understand, especially to those not in the IT industry, is exactly what cloud computing is, and how it differs from traditional infrastructure solutions.
On-premise infrastructure is, by definition, not in the cloud – it’s sitting in a dusty cramped cupboard in some long-forgotten corner of the office. This kind of infrastructure design came to prominence out of necessity – if you required servers to run your business, as most businesses do, then you had to purchase them and put them somewhere they could be connected to your internal network. As virtualisation technology and internet speeds have advanced the benefits of maintaining on premise infrastructure have dwindled, and while there are certain cases which are best suited to having hardware on-site, most IT workloads see an increase in performance and reliability, and a decrease in the total cost associated, when moved to the cloud.
Put simply, public cloud services, such as those provided by Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, allow you to run the servers you require without needing to purchase any hardware to do so. Instead, the provider purchases and maintains hardware at locations across Australia and the globe and charges companies to utilise it. These servers are then generally accessed over the internet, and while the cloud provider looks after the maintenance and daily operations of the physical hardware, the end-user experience remains virtually the same.
The cost reduction alone may be attractive, but the real benefits of public cloud become apparent when a solution is tailored to utilise the specialised framework provided to take full advantage of the services offered. This includes being able to configure resources to scale to meet demand, ensuring you only pay for what you’re actually using, as well as rich integrations with bundled services such as data analytics, notification systems, backup and archiving solutions and many others.
While on premise solutions can be costly to set up and maintain it doesn’t mean that public cloud is the only alternative. A private cloud can offer many of the benefits of public cloud while providing greater control. In essence, private cloud consists of a collection of servers which are purchased and maintained by an IT provider and operated out of a datacentre.
The greater flexibility of private cloud is suited to line of business applications which require fine grained configurations or which are not supported by their manufacturer when installed on public cloud offerings. Private cloud is also a good alternative when regulatory commitments can’t be achieved using public cloud - often due to the utilisation of shared hardware or data sovereignty implications.
So, which is best?
At the end of the day, the choice will depend on the scenario as there’s no one shoe fits all solution. If you have questions, or are interested in learning more, Evolve IT Australia specialises in both on premise as well as private and public cloud deployments – feel free to give us a call!