Migrating computing workloads to a cloud environment is a big step for any organization, regardless of its size. As the cloud market has matured over the last decade, making the decision to migrate is only the first of many choices facing a company. Fortunately, data centers offer a wide range of connectivity options that allow them to help customers build the best cloud infrastructure for their business.
When making decisions about workload placement, organizations need to take both their application needs and their performance requirements into consideration. While the precise details can vary from industry to industry, every organization must ultimately decide what type of cloud infrastructure they want to implement: a public cloud, a private cloud, a hybrid cloud, or a multi-cloud.
The public cloud is closest to what most people imagine when they think of cloud computing. Consisting of virtualized servers that offer both compute and storage capability, public clouds are a multi-tenant environment managed by a third-party provider. Easy to access and utilize, public clouds offer tremendous versatility and offer smaller organizations a way to match the IT capacity of their much bigger competitors. Many providers deliver applications and programs over a public cloud environment, further reducing the need for customers to make the hefty capital investments in productivity software and bulky storage.
For smaller companies and startups, public clouds are an ideal workload and data storage solution. Since most of the technical details are managed on the back-end by the cloud provider, there’s little need for in-house IT support or a managed services provider (MSP). While service level agreement (SLA) uptime may not be overly impressive (usually hovering around 99.9% or 99.99%), smaller companies usually have the flexibility to manage losing access to data for a short period of time.
Larger organizations, however, will likely find many of these terms unacceptable. They may not be in a position to entrust a third-party provider with their valuable data assets due to regulatory and business considerations. If the company delivers services over its network, it will probably be less willing to tolerate the risk of server downtime. These companies require the highest possible level of SLA uptime, which is often far beyond the capabilities of a public cloud provider. They may also already have a significant investment in IT infrastructure and personnel that they’re unwilling to cast aside in favor of a third-party solution.
Fortunately, data centers offer an ideal solution for these concerns in the form of a private cloud. Whether it’s a purely virtual cloud running on the facility’s virtualized servers or the company’s own colocated equipment, private clouds offer companies the cost savings of the cloud and the security and peace of mind that comes from maintaining total control over their IT infrastructure.
Private clouds may offer excellent security, but they aren’t always well-suited for all types of workloads. A department may need access to developmental tools offered by a public cloud provider or need to provision more computing power for big data analytics. In these specific cases, the multi-tenant connectivity environment of the data center makes it possible to implement a hybrid cloud architecture, which integrates a private cloud environment with a public cloud. Under this arrangement, data and critical assets are stored in the private cloud and transported into the public cloud to be used by applications located there.
The hybrid cloud allows companies to retain significant control over their data and infrastructure. They can manage user and application access, determine where data goes, and implement whatever security measures they deem necessary. At the same time, they can still utilize the computing resources, storage, and scalable infrastructure of the public cloud environment, lending the network a flexibility that simply isn’t possible in purely private networks. While hybrid networks can be challenging to implement and face their own unique security concerns, a good data center can ease the transition and provide numerous deployment options along with quality remote hands support.
Sometimes, one cloud just isn’t enough. Many enterprise-level organizations with multiple siloed departments have very different computing and IT infrastructure needs. For these companies, a multi-cloud solution that incorporates the services of several public cloud providers may be the ideal solution. By distributing workload placement among cloud environments, companies can ensure that every department is getting the resources it needs to accomplish its targeted goals.
While a multi-cloud could incorporate the integration of a hybrid cloud, it could also be implemented in parallel with a totally separate private network. This would deliver the highest level of security for organizations that have heavy computing needs but are subjected to strict privacy and compliance regulations. In either case, a data center provides the very best environment to set up such an architecture since it provides unparalleled connectivity options.
Migrating an organization’s workload to the cloud doesn’t have to be a frightening process, but it should be a well-considered one. In order to maximize the potential of moving to the cloud, a company has to be realistic about what it needs from a cloud provider given their application architecture. While most small to medium-sized businesses will be satisfied with public or hybrid solutions, larger companies need to seriously consider the implications of data migration and consider whether they need to build a private cloud or adopt a diverse multi-cloud solution to accommodate their IT infrastructure and workload placement. Whatever the choice may be, data centers are the ideal partner for implementing these solutions.