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April 8, 2020 | David McKenney

Cloud Platforms: What Are They And How Do They Work?

The first step in any cloud migration strategy is selecting a cloud platform. Cloud platforms come in many shapes and flavors. Some are best for workloads that require consistently high performance, while others offer lower-cost deployment, or on-demand capacity for peak loads. Some use multitenant architectures to maximize resources and reduce costs, while others are single-tenant, dedicated platforms.

 Cloud platforms advantages and disadvantages

To help you understand the differences in cloud platforms, we’ve put together a list of cloud platform options and their pros and cons.

Public cloud

A public cloud platform uses a multitenant architecture which customers share, along with the cost. The provider owns and controls the hardware and software infrastructure. Public cloud services include everything from infrastructure services such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), and Microsoft’s Azure platform service for developing custom applications, to ready-to-use software applications, like Microsoft Office 365.

Public cloud advantages

  • Cost-effective for commonly used applications, such as sales or productivity applications and storage services
  • Allows rapid, on-demand increase in capacity to meet peak usage needs
  • Cloud subscription fees, as operating expenses, are more predictable and affordable than upfront capital investments for on-site data centers
  • Built for global reach and provides anywhere access for distributed and mobile workers
  • Additional services such as management, backup or development tools are often available

Public cloud disadvantages

  • Resources such as servers and network bandwidth are shared, and performance can suffer during busy times
  • Customization of public cloud applications is limited
  • Customer’s security must fit the cloud provider’s standards

Also read: A Strategy to Overcome Cloud Computing Security Risks for a cloud platform security comparison

Private cloud

In a private cloud environment, the hardware and software belong to just one customer. A private cloud may be located in your own data center or hosted at a third-party data center. Compared to a public cloud, a private cloud platform offers organizations maximum control over hardware selection and software customization, but at the greatest cost.

Private cloud advantages

  • Customer selects the hardware, software, and location of its private cloud
  • Single-tenant architecture provides more consistent performance
  • Well suited for legacy applications that can’t be migrated to a standard public cloud environment
  • Hosted private clouds benefit from the providers’ infrastructure redundancy and resilience

Private cloud disadvantages

  • Customers bear full cost of on-premise private clouds, including security, network monitoring, and other IT staff services and facility maintenance
  • Customers of both hosted and on-premise clouds must buy their own hardware and software

Also read: Big Benefits of Private Cloud (and How to Take it to The Next Level)

Hybrid Cloud and Multicloud

According to Gartner, most businesses opt for multiple clouds and/or a mix of cloud and non-cloud platforms in their infrastructure. These are known as hybrid and multicloud environments. A hybrid cloud environment uses a mix of technologies, cloud or non-cloud. A multicloud environment uses multiple cloud platforms.

Hybrid Cloud and Multicloud advantages

  • Operating expense (OpEx) for cloud services can replace the capital expense (CapEx) of new hardware allowing for more cost control.
  • With these deployments, you can choose the best environment for your application or workload
  • Flexibility to adjust compute, cloud storage, and network bandwidth as business demands change
  • Built with reliability and redundancy in mind. You can failover to other clouds in your hybrid or multicloud environment

Hybrid Cloud and Multicloud disadvantages

  • Specific skill sets are needed to manage these types of environments
  • Ensuring interoperability of data and applications between clouds and different systems can be challenging without proper automation, APIs and standards in place
  • Perceived loss of control or visibility if your team isn’t on the same page
  • There is more to protect, these environments need a comprehensive cybersecurity plan

So which cloud platform is right for you?

When selecting the platform(s) for your cloud environment, first evaluate your in-house IT resources, as well as the requirements of each application. Highly security-sensitive applications and data might do best in a private cloud, while common work applications such as sales or office productivity applications could run in a public cloud.

TierPoint’s team of experts can help you devise a cloud strategy and match the best cloud platforms with your IT requirements and business goals. TierPoint can also provide a range of managed services to help with day-to-day operations, including security monitoring, network management, disaster recovery, and compliance. Contact us today to learn more.

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