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Still Don’t Understand the Cloud? We Can Help

Still Don’t Understand the Cloud? We Can Help

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Still Don’t Understand the Cloud? We Can Help

By Anthony McCloud, DataBank Solutions Engineer

The terms “cloud” and “cloud computing” have become popular in recent years as individuals and businesses have become more familiar with the many benefits cloud services can provide. Yet, for many people, cloud computing is still a vague and confusing concept.

If you’re not completely sure what cloud computing is, how it works, and which model is right for your business, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This article will break down the basics of cloud computing by describing how it works and the many benefits various cloud computing models can provide. I’ve also described one or two surprises that still catch many businesses off guard and may indicate that some cloud computing models may not be a perfect fit for your business.

The Benefits of Cloud Computing

First things first: What is cloud computing exactly? At its core, cloud computing is the practice of using remote servers to store, manage, and process data and perform other computing functions instead of using on-premises servers. For many companies, cloud computing is an attractive option over traditional on-premises infrastructure since it can deliver many valuable advantages and business benefits.

1. Scalability: Businesses can easily scale their infrastructure up or down as needed, without worrying about investing in expensive hardware or maintaining a complex network of servers and related software.
2. Flexibility: Since cloud computing approaches give companies access to their data, applications, and other infrastructure assets from anywhere, using virtually any device, businesses can enjoy more flexibility when it comes to business processes and options.
3. Cost-effectiveness: At face value, cloud computing services can be more affordable than traditional on-premises infrastructure because companies pay for only what they use and don’t have to worry about the cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware.
However, companies should be very careful when evaluating and understanding certain policies and charges. For example, many public clouds have data ingress and egress fees that can add up quickly and become an unpleasant surprise.
4. Improved security and data backup: Cloud computing providers typically offer powerful security measures and automatic data backup, which can help protect data from cyber threats and disasters. In many cases, these security measures can be stronger than what a company could achieve on its own, helping avoid data breaches, ransomware, and other cyber-attacks as well as comply with stringent data privacy regulations.
Once companies have decided that cloud computing is right for them, they should then begin to plan and evaluate how to select and deploy the best model possible.

Cloud Computing Models

There are many different types of cloud computing models and approaches, each with its own benefits and challenges. Here is a closer look at three of the most common:

1. Public cloud: This generally refers to services such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud (hyperscale cloud providers), which provide shared, multi-tenant access to servers and other computing resources over the internet.

For many, the word “public” may seem counter-intuitive since public clouds keep each company’s data and applications hidden – seemingly “private” – from other customers. This may seem to be private clouds, but in this case, the term, public cloud simply refers to a cloud computing model that shares computing services with many different companies.

Still, public clouds can present some challenges. For example, it may not be as easy as it may seem to set up, deploy, and manage public cloud infrastructure, especially if the client company doesn’t have the experienced IT staff required. Additionally, while hyperscaler vendors promote public clouds as being less expensive than on-premises infrastructure, data ingress and egress fees can add up quickly and become an unpleasant surprise.

2. Private cloud: A private cloud is a dedicated cloud infrastructure that is designed and managed for a specific business, either as on-premises infrastructure or through a third-party provider. Since the company has more control over private clouds, it can offer more flexibility to meet the business’s specific demands and can also be more secure. Be aware that a private cloud infrastructure can also be more expensive and difficult to manage.

3. Hybrid cloud: As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud combines elements of public and private cloud computing models. This approach can give the company maximum flexibility over its IT infrastructure to meet its specific goals related to cost, scalability, performance, security, and control.

Each one of these models offers its own advantages as well as complicating factors. They should all be carefully considered as part of a larger IT strategy to make the best decisions possible.

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