Choices abound when it comes to Infrastructure as a Service. At first glance, it seems simple enough to migrate to the Cloud. You just need a clean place to park your workloads, right? Do a bit of research, list which of your apps are best in Public Cloud vs Private Cloud, then choose one of those Clouds?
Although Cloud solutions are rapidly developing, getting more viable by the day, it’s not that easy to choose. So before you make a slam dunk decision, here are some critical points for you to consider.
Current State of Public Cloud vs Private Clouds
Widespread use of both Public and Private Clouds is growing, and both show good prospects for long term growth. These Cloud types are equally viable — one isn’t better than the other. Which is why many companies these days use both.
Public Cloud vs Private Cloud platforms, however, have various limitations. At the top of the list is that Public Cloud doesn’t have the high level of security Private Cloud has. That’s obviously a deal breaker for companies that must be HIPAA-compliant.
Another example is that Private Cloud can’t provide the “everywhere access” that Public Cloud can, which could be problematic if your company has people working remotely.
While in some ways the gap between Public Cloud vs Private Clouds is widening, in other ways it’s shrinking.
From a platform perspective, you’re seeing a pretty large divergence between the vendors and their offerings. At the same time, the industry is producing a convergence of capabilities. In other words, like many relationships, it’s complicated. But there is one saving grace.
Public Cloud vs Private Cloud Needs Assessment
One thing is for sure, the best decisions are made only when decision makers are well informed. Assessment of your current operation is the only way to achieve this. A few business drivers to look at when determining which Cloud type might best suit your workloads are:
- Direct Cost – Easy to determine, as it shows up on your balance sheet. Hardware, software, operational, etc.
- Staffing – Not always direct or easy to calculate, but significant. Includes the loss of productivity among staff and customers when your IT infrastructure goes down.
- Technology – The whole shebang of migrating, including the monitoring of your company’s data when you deploy legacy systems to the Cloud.
Relevance of Application Types
An early step in the assessment process is to classify the information you have on hand. The piece that’s critical for you, that can inform your Public Cloud vs Private Cloud decision is — in a word — applications. Take stock of what you have and use your application types as a metric for your decision.
But remember! It’s not going to be a quick, clear-cut answer. And if someone tells you it is, I’d be suspicious. You see, this step involves diving deep into your applications.
The bottom line is that to pull off a quality needs assessment you have to deeply understand your app types. This first step is critical to the whole process of discovering the best Cloud type for your workloads.
The first applications you’ll want to gain a deep understanding of are your legacy apps. You’re bound to have at least one, unless you’re a brand new start-up. Whether you have an application strategy first (followed by a Cloud strategy) or a Cloud strategy first (then design your apps), understanding your legacy apps is critical.
Why? Two words: agility and innovation. Knowledge of your legacy app will help you gain agility in an optimal Cloud environment because:
- Cloud resources are vast and scalable
- Some legacy applications become more flexible and resilient
- Outside of any Cloud, some apps tend to be clunky
- Cloud environments automatically upgrade some legacy apps
But you need to thoroughly understand your legacy apps. This includes the configuration changes they’ve had over the years. “Agility is as much about the way an app is designed, deployed, and managed as it is about the platform.”
Another key point about legacy apps relates to innovation. It’s short and sweet. Innovation, in the context of legacy applications, is all about application modernization.
Understanding these key features of your legacy apps will help you in the decision-making process.
“The way applications respond to latency (the time it takes to send data from one location to another) is critical in successfully accomplishing any task.” As implied above, when many applications are moved to a Cloud environment their performance improves substantially. Latency increases, which is a boon to any enterprise. Also, automatic resource provisioning and a high-performance SLA (in the Cloud) can make all the difference to app performance. That’s another talking point to take up with Cloud providers before anything is signed.
‘Lift and Shift’ Warning
Sounds easy, right? It’s the quick and dirty route to the Cloud. Once the decision to move to the Cloud has been made, technically almost anything can be moved fast by “lift and shift”. In many cases, it’s a viable option. Quickly get rid of some of the overhead and the headaches that come with operating your own data center.
But it’s risky. Your overall project could be jeopardized, especially if your IT environment has tons of servers. If you’re still considering “lift and shift,” you’d be well advised to ask a lot of questions first.
Ask questions like, What is the increased latency between the desktop and the server? Many more technical and business questions need to be addressed as well. Don’t short circuit the needs assessment process in the name of “lift and shift” convenience.
Top Differentiator Between Public Cloud vs Private Cloud
The primary difference between Public Cloud and Private Cloud is scalability. If your business is planning to scale up or even if there is a remote possibility that it will do so, Public Cloud has the capability you need. That’s the bottom line.
That’s not to say you have to park all of your workloads in Public Cloud. As mentioned above, many organizations have some model of Hybrid Cloud set up. It gives you far more flexibility than you’d have with only one Cloud. So you can get a specifically tailored solution with Private Cloud and scalability with Public Cloud.
The flexibility of Hybrid means your Cloud solution can meet all your IT needs, including cost optimization. But the road to get there will be bumpy if you don’t spend the time up front to do a deep dive assessment of your applications.