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Which Cloud Model is Best for Your Business

While other organizations race to achieve operational improvements to lower costs and reduce complexity, the hybrid cloud model could be the silver bullet to help transform your IT from a cost center into an engine for growth and innovation.

The cloud comes in different flavors – private, public and hybrid.

Hybrid clouds – a blend of the best private and public cloud features – are the way of the future.

A hybrid cloud translates into cost savings and a more agile infrastructure with a lot less maintenance hassle.

IT resources can be tapped on demand, and an entire infrastructure can be updated easily.

But what’s the difference, and how should you choose which cloud model is right for your business?

Public Cloud – Flexible and Efficient, but is it Safe? 

A major incentive for adopting public cloud models lies in the ability to shift from a capital expense model to an operating expense model.

Cloud enables you to scale services to fit needs, customize applications and access cloud services from anywhere with an Internet connection.

With public cloud, your data and insight are in someone else’s hands – they protect it, but you control it.

The benefits mean you can access resources and capabilities, such as DevOps, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and a host of services and expertise, leaving you to focus efforts on core business while the technology knowledge resides somewhere else.

Private Cloud – Security for Highly Sensitive Data

Implementing a private cloud means your computing capacity resides solely on a virtual private network.

The network is created inside a firewall and provides rapid access to IT – like the public cloud model – but without security and reliability risks.

While a private cloud can be a more expensive option, it is highly suitable in certain situations where concerns or regulations exist regarding the use of public clouds to manage, host and process highly sensitive data.

Government agencies, public sector, life-critical resources and financial institutions are examples where private cloud makes sense.

Hybrid Cloud - The Best of All Worlds 

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In many established enterprises, substantial investments have already been made in IT infrastructure, making it tough and economically undesirable to move from a CAPEX to an OPEX model.

In these situations, a hybrid cloud model can offer the best of both worlds. When a private cloud environment is created inside a firewall, it provides users with the same rapid access to IT as the public model, but with less exposure to Internet security risks.

“The hybrid cloud is an attractive solution for many organizations because they’re flexible, secure and easily scalable with the right platform,” explains Brad Petrus, Vice President, Vendita.

“A hybrid cloud approach allows companies, organizations and IT leaders to maintain control of their environment while keeping costs under control and, most times, reducing those ongoing or unexpected costs that arise in other cloud solutions or dedicated, on-premises strategies.”

Hybrid cloud boosts efficiency

Hybrid cloud can help you make huge efficiency gains by literally doing more with less – less complexity, lower budget, fewer resources.

The benefits include accessing applications, storing massive volumes of data and increasing the flexibility of hardware capacity while simultaneously reducing waste and redundancy – no need to pay for idle computing resources.

For example, if you have a solution with a proven RAS (reliable, available, secure) hardware platform and the right automation software, you can scale quickly and easily as your business environment changes without having to make substantial infrastructure investments.

Driving Costs Down and Mitigating Risks with Hybrid Cloud 

A hybrid cloud approach allows you to maintain control of your environment and keeps costs under control, all while reducing ongoing and unexpected costs that arise in either public or private cloud models.

Hybrid clouds, unlike other solutions, don’t require you to completely relinquish control of your IT environment, assets, trust other teams, or even share resources with other companies (such as public clouds).

As a mixture of private and public cloud principles, a hybrid cloud allows you to use an on-premises private cloud for your business-critical applications – meaning you don’t have the security risks associated with shared resources.

You can control costs while also taking advantage of the public cloud for other processes and services you need to spin up quickly, such as DevOps and development testing, which are not as data-sensitive and, therefore, ideal for public cloud.

However, when you are managing very sensitive data that is critical to your business, it’s best to use an on-premises private cloud model.

“A hybrid cloud approach is a silver bullet, of sorts,” says Petrus. “It combines the best of both worlds in one offering.”

Assess Your Workloads

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That’s not to say a hybrid model is right for everyone.

When evaluating whether hybrid cloud is a good fit, assessing workloads is a good place to start.

Licensing fees, data value, reliability and security are often evaluated on a case-by-case basis when weighing the pros and cons of choosing where workloads reside, with IT departments adapting their workload placement accordingly across hybrid cloud options.

Each solution should be uniquely designed to fit individual business requirements.

For example, Vendita offers customers Vendita Database Cloud Server (DCS), the only solution built with Oracle Database on IBM Power Systems™ servers.

How?

By leveraging relationships with both Oracle and IBM and engineering a patented provisioning process that allows Vendita DCS to be fully provisioned at the IBM POWER® server manufacturing center to build and deliver the solution.

It’s the first and only Oracle Database on IBM Power Systems™ delivered in a pre-configured, fully provisioned, ready-to-deploy solution, introducing never-before-seen levels of data system convenience, flexibility and business opportunity.  

User Training is Critical 

A lot of challenges that come with a hybrid cloud relate to the integration that controls data security and licensing.

One way to manage the successful adoption of any new technology – like the cloud – is to invest time in end-user training.

End-user training of the web interface for the management of a hybrid cloud is critical because change is difficult.

When you ask users to alter their well-established processes, inevitably there will be holes that need filling around security or processes that need to be more oriented to a cloud approach.

Whether public or on-premises, the old way of doing things is no longer viable in the new IT environment. While users often resist training, they need to be reminded of the benefits that will come with the adoption of a cloud – and these really come down to the security and control of the assets around a hybrid cloud.

Planning and Implementation Are Keys to Cloud Success

No matter what tact your organization takes, how well you plan your cloud implementation strategy can make or break you.

To reap the many benefits, while avoiding the risks, think through critical concerns, such as workload performance, data security and infrastructure management.

Addressing these issues during the planning and implementation stages will leave you in a position of strength – especially in relation to security issues.

Written by IBM BP Network