Balancing private cloud and public cloud

Why you need a broad portfolio of cloud solutions

For years the debate around the cloud has been centered on public versus private, but increasingly, the debate is giving way to the realization that you need a broad portfolio of solutions depending on the applications in question.

public cloud or private cloud

Stop worrying about public or private and starting thinking about balance.

In a recent survey conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners and GigaOm, 55% of the survey’s 855 respondents said that hybrid or multi-cloud environments would surpass public or private clouds in two to three years. Three quarters (75%) of respondents thought hybrid would be the preferred strategy within five years. The simple reason is that private and public clouds each have their own strengths and weaknesses. The best way to deploy the cloud is to balance private and public options to fit the applications.

The public route has some obvious advantages, including the major draw: No need for capital investment. Using the public cloud to handle load spikes also makes the public cloud extremely attractive. Managed properly, this can save quite a lot of money.

And in many ways, the public option is nearly unavoidable for disaster recovery and redundancy. Maintaining multiple private clouds to meet the needs of your organization in the event of a regional or national disaster is too expensive for all but the largest enterprises. Even huge enterprises need to think twice about whether that’s the best use of resources. The public cloud can offer cost-effective business continuity.

Of course, private cloud has advantages as well. For one, latency and networking is a major issue with public cloud, especially for retailers and other business that have remote or rural locations. Private cloud can also be cheaper in cases where loads are well-known, and private clouds can be tailored to the specific needs of an application.

Private clouds offer major security and compliance advantages, as well. Specialized industries such as healthcare, finance, retail, and education have consumer protection and privacy laws that are very specific about where and how data can be held. Public cloud providers put enterprises at risk for being out of compliance, and have recently fallen victim to malware and breaches.

Learning to manage a multi-cloud approach

Given the advantages and disadvantages of both public and private clouds, why not hedge your bets and opt for both? The key to doing this successfully lies in learning to manage a hybrid or multi-cloud approach so that you get the best of both worlds, instead of the worst.

With each application pick the solution which makes the most sense. For applications with unpredictable or varying loads, the need to scale quickly, but don’t have significant latency or compliance issues, the public cloud is ideal. For extremely sensitive applications where you must always control the data or for applications requiring extremely low latency, private applications are best.

Picking a an enterprise cloud management solution will allow you make the right decisions and monitor your usage to get the most out of your applications. A good management solution:

  • will support multiple cloud solutions
  • allow you to manage and track costs
  • provide robust access and identity management
  • assist you in making decisions about which cloud solution is right for a given application

The best cloud options will minimize downtime and reduce management headaches. Stop worrying about public or private and starting thinking about balance.

David Wagner
David has been writing on business and technology for seven years and was most recently an assistant editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered business topics including IT, innovation, and customer service. His work has also appeared in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
David Wagner
Tags: Cloud Computing,Technology
  • SIMpalm


    Nice thought about using different cloud based upon the app, I agree different apps in the same enterprise may need different cloud solution. I did similar kind of implementation for one of our clients while developing custom apps.