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Cloud data centers processed 94% of workloads in 2021.

Businesses embarking on digital transformation and modernization projects need to make big decisions about their infrastructure, data, and applications. This is where cloud computing comes in.


With all types of clouds options out there, many businesses get overwhelmed and struggle to find what they need. Do they need a single cloud environment for data and applications? What about multicloud and hybrid clouds? Will the public cloud serve their needs?


Our guide will help you learn everything you need to know about the cloud, how to choose the right cloud services for your business, and what to look for in a best-in-class cloud provider.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing, often referred to as “the cloud”, allows users to access computing services and resources (including servers, storage, databases, and applications) over the Internet instead of on a personal computer or local server.

The benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing supports innovation and business agility. Leveraging cloud computing can help your business gain the competitive advantage.

9 benefits of cloud computing

Cost Effectiveness

You may have applications and workloads that aren’t compatible with cloud computing. Migrating legacy workloads into a colocation facility is a big step in the right direction toward achieving greater resilience, availability and security for legacy applications and their sensitive data.


Data and Application Security

Cloud computing providers have the scale to hire high-demand cloud security professionals, and the expertise and resources to implement best-practice controls, policies, and technologies for cloud security.

Speed to Market

A virtual machine creates a cloud server with any operating system. Ready-made software development platforms let software engineers provision an environment and deploy applications quickly.



Redundant infrastructure, cloud security, and 99.99% uptime service level agreements deliver high-availability cloud environments.


Cloud computing lets you right-size your compute, cloud storage, and network bandwidth – up, down, or off – whenever your business needs change and wherever you may need the resources geographically.


Resiliency and disaster recovery

Cloud-based Disaster Recovery solutions enable replication and failover to an alternate location to bypass local disruptions.

Increased Productivity

Cloud resources and managed cloud service providers let your business achieve more with fewer in-house resources. Your IT staff can focus on the goals of your business, instead of maintaining IT infrastructure.

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Cloud providers innovate rapidly, enabling access to the latest technology. And using the cloud lets your internal IT team be strategic and focused on innovation, instead of tending your infrastructure.

Improved Performance

High-performance computing, fast communication networks, and local edge computing are among the many ways cloud computing reduces latency and improves performance.

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Types of cloud platforms

Public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds are the three main types of cloud platforms. When choosing the right cloud – or clouds – you must consider the unique needs of your organization and workloads. It is important to understand the value provided by each type of cloud, as well as how each platform can meet the needs of different applications.

Public cloud and hyperscale cloud

Public clouds provide a pool of virtual resources that are owned and managed by a third-party provider and shared by customers in a multitenant environment. The world’s largest public cloud services offer hyperscale clouds that deliver the highest scalability. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Google Cloud platforms are well-known hyperscale public cloud vendors.


Public clouds are cost-effective for companies that want to avoid purchasing, managing, and maintaining on-premises hardware. All management and maintenance of infrastructure and services are the responsibility of the cloud service provider.


Public clouds are ideal for organizations that have needs related to big data, media and collaboration, e-commerce, and specialty workloads, or that have highly variable workloads that need to scale.


Some managed service providers have relationships with public cloud providers, giving their clients access to a public cloud without the effort of setting it up and managing it.

Private cloud

Sometimes businesses don’t want to share. With a private cloud, your organization can accelerate digital transformation with dedicated resources, security, application control, and regulatory compliance. Private clouds can be managed by internal resources or by a third-party provider.

Additionally, they can be hosted internally (on-premises) or in a third-party data center. Depending on your provider, your hosted private cloud can be located near your offices in a local cloud data center or closer to your customers.


Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)Many organizations are opting to leverage hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms with their private clouds to accelerate implementation, scale rapidly, and simplify operations. A hyperconverged infrastructure is a software-defined solution that combines compute, network, and storage together into a single system.


You may also like: Hyperconvergence vs. Convergence: Benefits, Differences and Use Cases


Deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure gives a private cloud the elasticity of a public cloud. Because it is software-enabled, users can spin up new resources quickly and easily.


Research firm Gartner predicts that as much as 20% of business-critical applications currently deployed on three-tier IT infrastructure will transition to hyperconverged infrastructure by 2020.


When deploying a private cloud, look to vendors such as Nutanix, VMware, and Dell EMC for industry-leading HCI platforms, or to a cloud service provider that can deploy and support these technologies. Learn how Hyperconverged Infrastructure works with a Hosted Private Cloud.

Which Cloud Is Right for You?

Learn about your cloud options and how to choose the right one.

What is Multicloud and Hybrid cloud computing?

What is hybrid cloud computing?

Hybrid cloud is the use of cloud with other technologies, cloud or non-cloud. It refers to a broader strategy. A hybrid cloud strategy may include multiple clouds, but a multicloud strategy isn’t necessarily hybrid.
Hybrid cloud includes multicloud and non-cloud technologies. Specifically, the phrase non-cloud in the hybrid cloud definitions includes on-premises or colocated infrastructure and hardware not used in conjunction with a cloud platform.


Hybrid clouds are common, as are hybrid IT strategies. The majority (58%) of companies use or plan to adopt a hybrid mix of cloud and non-cloud infrastructure, while 12% use or plan to use a mix of clouds.


Four common uses of hybrid cloud are:


Replication and failover for disaster recovery and business continuity

Archiving and data storage for storage tiering, backup retention, and data lakes

Managing spikes in demand on bursting workloads

Spinning up new software development environments

What is multicloud computing?

Sometimes one cloud won’t serve all of your data and application needs. There is no “one size fits all.” Many businesses are looking to multicloud deployments to support their diverse workloads.


Multicloud (the use of multiple clouds) is now the norm, because one cloud typically isn’t the best for all workloads. With multicloud you can pick and choose the best execution venue (BEV) for each workload and application.


Increased cloud options (59%) and easier and faster disaster recovery (40%) are two big benefits of multicloud, according to IDG.


Multicloud environments are usually interoperable, as shown in these multicloud trends:


25% of organizations will deliver a single business function across multiple clouds – that is, hybrid cloud computing, which requires interoperability.

35% of organizations expect to migrate workloads or data among multiple clouds, which also requires interoperability.

40% of multicloud implementations will have no or minimal interoperability.


Four common uses of multicloud are:


To support specific business needs, such as edge computing

To use hyperscale resources for disaster recovery, storage, bursting workloads, and dev-test

As a by-product of a merger or acquisition, when each organization depends upon applications hosted in different clouds

As a result of subscribing to SaaS cloud applications hosted in different clouds


Multiple clouds can multiply complexity. A multicloud strategy often requires additional IT skill sets such as cloud security and cloud connectivity.


Hiring all the IT skills you need for multicloud can be problematic, because it’s a full-time job to maintain knowledge of a single hyperscale cloud. Many multicloud adopters will choose an experienced 3rd party cloud provider to handle management for them.

Where Are You on the Path to a Modernized Data Center?

Learn how to achieve IT flexibility.

How a cloud computing strategy enables digital transformation

Cloud computing is the foundation of digital transformation strategy for 62% of mid-market companies.

Digital transformation refers to the investment in and development of new technologies, mindsets, and business models to deliver new and relevant value for customers and employees in an ever-evolving digital economy.


Depending on where a company is on its IT journey, transformation can mean different things. But if you aren’t looking at ways to use technology to better serve customers, you can be sure your competitors are. One constant is that digital transformation is supported by cloud computing.


451 Research says that over half of global infrastructures will be off-premises by 2024. The cloud’s scalable, flexible resources are ideal for transformational initiatives, allowing accelerated business evolution through nimble infrastructure that makes change affordable.


Organizations choose their cloud services and cloud providers based on the needs of each application and workload, making multicloud and hybrid cloud computing the new normal. Often, one cloud isn’t the best for all workloads: Placement depends on a range of factors, including lifecycle stages, usage patterns, application behavior characteristics, data criticality, and data sovereignty.


Learn more about digital transformation:


Enterprise IT Shifts Off-Premises, Fueled by Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Options with Microsoft Azure

Cloud Services and Healthcare’s Digital Transformation 

At a glance: Digital transformation is driving cloud adoption

Cloud computing service models

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are the three main models of cloud computing services. Each model represents a different part of the cloud computing stack and each has its own benefits and use cases.

It’s necessary to understand the differences among the three in order to select the right model for your workloads and organization. Cloud computing services differ depending on the level of abstraction. Which of these statements best matches your needs?


I want virtual machines and storage resources that I’ll set up and manage (IaaS)


I want a ready-to-use development platform for creating, testing, and delivering applications (PaaS)


I want to use a ready-made cloud-based application (SaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS delivers the most basic elements of a cloud: servers and VMs, operating systems, storage, and networking.


You can manage IaaS resources as you would your own hardware, or you can engage a managed cloud services provider.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS provides a convenient software development environment to develop, test, deliver, and manage applications.


The PaaS provider delivers middleware, development tools, database management systems, and analytics for your use.


You develop and manage your applications and data.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

With SaaS, you rent a ready-made application. The SaaS vendor delivers cost-effective standardized functionality to large groups of geographically distributed users.

Popular Uses

Popular uses for IaaS

Cloud servers for websites and media

Creating a virtual data center

Compute-intensive applications

Popular uses for PaaS

Software development

Analytics or business intelligence (BI)

Popular uses for SaaS


Collaborative platforms

Sales and field support


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Microsoft Azure


PaaS examples

AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Azure App Service or Dev Ops


SaaS examples

Office 365


Software + Services is a related application delivery model.


Is the cloud secure?

Data security is a major concern for every organization. As you plan your cloud strategy, ensure robust security solutions are built into every facet of your deployment.

Despite eagerness to adopt cloud services, security remains a top concern for many organizations, particularly when they’re considering a multicloud strategy. But cloud computing can be secure when companies move thoughtfully and carefully with a formal cloud policy.


Cloud security requires vigilance on the part of both your organization and your cloud service provider. Sometimes, however, in their rush to multicloud deployments, businesses do not fully embed security into their plans. In other cases, in-house IT professionals may not have the time or expertise to stay on top of security monitoring.


Working with a partner that has cloud security expertise can improve protection, lower costs, and speed implementation and deployment. In addition to offering managed security as a service, cloud service providers should ensure cloud security by design through technologies and techniques such as:


Logical isolation

Role-based access control

Encryption for data at rest and in transit

System hardening and DDoS protection

24x7x365 monitoring

Physical data center security

Know the top cloud security threats

Learn how to protect your business from viruses, DDoS attacks, and cyberthieves.

How to migrate to the cloud

Migrating to the cloud is often considered an essential step in digitally transforming a business. The cloud can enable future business opportunities, increased productivity in both your internal and customer systems, and has many other benefits. But which cloud (or clouds) is right for your workloads, applications and data?


A cloud readiness assessment is a critical first step to help you identify the right cloud migration strategy for your business. Is your organization preparing to move one or more workloads to a cloud or to a different cloud? Like any IT and business investment, cloud migration requires analysis and planning to reduce risk. Just as no IT department would buy network hardware without considering the rest of the network, a cloud readiness assessment evaluates cloud services as interdependent investments.

What is a cloud readiness assessment?

Start planning your cloud migration with a cloud readiness assessment, which involves an analysis of your organization’s current and future cloud needs.

Out of the assessment, you should receive a customized cloud road map, a right-sized cloud design with estimated cost of ownership (TCO) and ROI, and a cloud migration plan based on IT dependencies. A cloud readiness assessment should consider and evaluate:

  • Existing IT applications and infrastructure
  • Security and compliance requirements

Current and projected computing workloads

  • Business processes
  • Internal IT human resources
  • IT budget
  • Future business goals
  • Estimated costs

We can help you plan for the cloud

Learn how a cloud readiness assessment can reduce risk.

5 things to look for in a cloud service provider

Many organizations find digital transformation and cloud migration challenging due to a shortage of cloud expertise skills. In a recent 451 Research survey, 57% of respondents are feeling the pain of this skills gap, with 30% struggling to find and recruit the right talent to support their cloud initiatives. Many providers out there can help, but how do you know if you’re getting the right expertise? Consider these five areas when choosing a cloud provider.


1. The multicloud and hybrid cloud expertise you (will) need

Even if you don’t need a multicloud or a hybrid cloud yet, it’s likely you will, and probably sooner than you might expect.


Look for a cloud provider with the right partners and expertise with multiple clouds, cloud security, and managed services; they can design and manage all your clouds, from a single-cloud deployment to a multi-vendor multicloud.

2. Disaster recovery and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Cloud computing can deliver improved disaster recovery and business continuity by lowering recovery times and reducing data loss.

A cloud service provider (CSP) with DRaaS expertise can design a cloud infrastructure that meets your recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives, and manage and test your DR processes so you know your disaster recovery plan will work when you need it.

3. Highest levels of availability, performance, security, and connectivity

Your business will depend on the quality of your cloud. The best cloud service providers offer robust and redundant communications networks, resiliency and guaranteed uptime, scalable infrastructure, physical and operational security, and certifications of compliance.


In addition, a provider that can provide on-ramps to the major public cloud providers is critical as multicloud and hybrid infrastructures become more prevalent.

4. Location, location, location

Your business has a geographical component. To minimize latency, you may want a cloud near your headquarters or near your customers. A cloud data center located in another region can improve resilience in disaster recovery, or you can physically visit a locally hosted private cloud service.

5. Breadth of managed services and variety of IT cloud solutions

If you’d like to acquire cloud expertise or offload routine management tasks, look for a provider that offers a variety of cloud environments and the services you need.


A CSP can provide services from cloud architecture design to security as a service, from database administration to patch management and systems monitoring, and more. One with experience in your industry could provide additional value.

Finding cloud expertise and solutions

Getting started on your journey to the right cloud solution for your business doesn’t need to be difficult. TierPoint’s team of cloud advisors can help you to work through your cloud strategy and consider your options. We help in three ways:

Enabling digital transformation

Enabling digital transformation initiatives for our customers is a key focus at TierPoint. We provide managed cloud solutions built on best-in-class technology and backed by a dedicated team of cloud experts.

Customizing cloud solutions for you

Our hosted private cloud, multitenant cloud, hybrid cloud, and public cloud solutions can help your organization improve performance, manage costs, maintain compliance, and enable disaster recovery.

Providing responsive partnership

With a customer-first mindset, TierPoint is a responsive partner that will be involved in the entire planning, implementation, and maintenance of your cloud solution. You’ll get 24×7 support from our available and responsive cloud experts.

Managed cloud solutions designed for your business

Hosted Private Cloud

Move to the cloud and maintain control.


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Multitenant Cloud

Scale your IT infrastructure quickly and cost-effectively.


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Hybrid Cloud

Get the cloud configuration that’s right for you.


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Managed Azure

We’ll work with you to make the transition easy.


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Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Accelerate business transformation with AWS.


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Deploy your hardware in our state-of-the-art data centers.


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Take The Next Step

Let TierPoint help you create the high-availability, high-performing cloud strategy that is right for your business objectives and budget.