Public Cloud

What it is and why it matters

The research firm Gartner recently predicted that Australian public cloud services spending will grow 23% in 2014 to reach $3.2 billion. They also expect this growth will continue and will reach $5.2 billion by 2016.

Verizon’s yearly report helps break down this growth.

Out of almost 1000 respondents surveyed, cloud computing is being used by 65% of enterprises, while 71% of those expect they will use cloud for an external facing production application by 2017.

What is public cloud?

Public cloud is based on the standard cloud computing service model. In this case, a service provider allows access to resources like applications and storage to the general public using the Internet. These services may be offered using a free or a pay-per-usage model.

Examples of public cloud providers include:

Public cloud benefits

Some of the benefits of public cloud are:

Less waste

Since you only pay for what you use, you reduce wasted resources. One of the good things about public cloud is that it is typically built on a utility model. If you frequently need to build up or tear down compute resources for development purposes, public cloud allows you to do so easily on a regular basis.

Less expensive

Set up is usually less expensive since the provider has already paid for the servers, software, bandwidth, and more. Public cloud can also lower infrastructure cost with new projects.

It’s unlikely that a private cloud can compete with companies like Amazon and Google on price. These public cloud providers are constantly buying new hardware and keeping up with the latest security technologies.

Pay-as-you-go

With cloud providers, you can pay-as-you-go without any contracts. This means your IT team can set up a development environment, test applications, and then move on without having to pay for unused service.

Shift your cloud from capital to operational expenses

Since public cloud is pay-as-you-go, you’re able to shift from a huge initial capital expense to a lower, more manageable operational expense.

No perimeter complacency

A common thought with private cloud is that since they are inside their own internal network, it must be secure. This is a dangerous way of thinking about cloud in general. Security must be regularly tested to make sure your applications are protected from the latest intrusion techniques.

Public cloud providers, especially ones with big companies like Amazon and Google, have had thousands of hackers working to defeat their security (and failing) for years. This is why public cloud service providers will usually attract the best security people. Many of them are willing to pay top dollar to the best employees to make sure their networks are up-to-date and secure.

Challenges of public cloud

No control over hardware

With public cloud, you give up control over the hardware. This means you are at the mercy of the service provider to upgrade or replace machines when they get outdated.

Shared resources

Also, since public cloud is a multitenant environment, your organisation will share the same hardware, network, and storage devices as many other organisations.

Not planning for the future

Quick and easy implementation is one big advantage of public cloud, but it can also be a disadvantage to an organisation. Most organisations need to think about their existing applications and processes and decide which ones should be deployed to the cloud for the long-term. The quick and easy implementation of public cloud allows individuals to make decisions that can affect the organisation without proper planning.

What happens when an employee decides to go with a cloud-based CRM system and starts entering all of their data? In a few months, they’ve put a lot of work into a system that the organisation may or may not support. If the organisation decides to go with a different provider or solution, all of that data would need to be migrated to new systems.

No control over upgrades

While upgrades can be a great thing and provide new features that users want, for some organisations it can also cause problems. Cloud service providers can upgrade their software on their own schedule and customers have no control over when it happens.

What happens when you have integration set up between your CRM cloud service provider and your accounting service provider? One of them makes an update and changes their software; it has the potential of breaking the link between the two systems. While both companies have the best intentions of allowing their software to continue to interact, if it breaks it’s your organisation and many others that will feel the impact.

Keys to successfully implementing public cloud

There are many facets that you will need to consider when selecting a public cloud provider:

Evaluate your processes and software

One of the first things you need to do when you start considering moving to the cloud is to evaluate existing software and processes to find out which ones will need to be migrated to the cloud first. By mapping out these processes before you look at software, you will have a better idea of which features and benefits you will need from each provider.

Service-level agreements

Always take the time to fully review the service-level agreements when evaluating cloud service providers. Some providers will offer better guarantees and higher level of service to help separate them from their competitors.

Vendor lock-in

Before moving to a cloud service provider, make sure you have a good understanding of your exit strategy. What will happen if the company you choose goes out of business? How will IT be able to move your data off of their servers and on to another platform? A good cloud service provider will have a well-documented procedure for exporting your data so you can move it to another provider if the need arises.

Final thoughts

There are many benefits to public cloud. However, it is important to make public cloud decisions as an organisation. When managed and researched properly, public cloud can be a huge success for any organisation.

R & G Technologies Public Cloud Solutions

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