Private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud: which does your business need?

Rick Maltby

Understanding your customers’ needs is critical when you’re trying to create a successful B2B marketing campaign.

So, when cloud computing is your offering, it’s vital to know the direction businesses are already headed in – as well as the challenges they are trying to solve.

Cloud computing is not in itself that complex a concept. It’s just a computer somewhere else, as the joke goes.

However, the cloud comes in a number of different forms – public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud – that are each useful in their own ways. And because every business runs a variety of different workloads, they might well need a range of different cloud and on-premises solutions to get the best value from their IT.

In this post, we’re sharing a snappy summary of the main drivers behind cloud migration decisions, to help you match your solutions to customer needs and market them effectively.

What is driving cloud migration choices?

Security, performance, cost and scale are the biggest considerations in decisions about which kind of cloud to migrate workloads to – if any.

Security is a top concern for every business. It usually trumps any cost savings cloud might offer, because those savings would be instantly wiped out should a data breach occur. The average cost of a breach is $3.86 million, according to the latest Ponemon Institute report. And cybersecurity professionals’ concern about cloud security is growing, according to the 2018 Cloud Security Report.

When a workload’s data is sensitive or confidential, businesses are therefore more likely to keep it on premises. The next-most-secure option is a private cloud, where the business has physical control over hardware and cyber security but users can still access services remotely.

Performance is arguably the next-biggest priority, but again it depends on the workload in question. Businesses are constantly innovating, with many developing new applications that are built on micro-services and designed to run in the cloud. Yet the same businesses still depend on traditional applications, middleware and databases, which won’t run in the cloud. And when workloads are tightly coupled and need to share data quickly, it’s best to run them on the same infrastructure – not spread them across public cloud services. In these instances, businesses often choose private cloud, or on-premises when users don’t need outside access.

It’s when cost-efficiency is the biggest priority that public cloud is usually chosen. For workloads that aren’t particularly sensitive or performance-intensive, public cloud can deliver better value than dedicated infrastructure. It does this by reducing capital investments in hardware and software, as well as proving savings in maintenance and management.

Public cloud services also offer instant scale – so when workloads grow, or temporarily spike, the business doesn’t suddenly have to choose between an outage or a costly hardware upgrade. Conversely, when workloads reduce costs can go down unlike traditional infrastructure costs which are largely fixed.

The major cloud vendors like AWS and Azure can handle workloads on a scale beyond that of most business infrastructures, making public cloud the only viable option for some businesses with large or fast-growing workloads. Public cloud gives businesses agility and flexibility with smaller up-front investment.

In summary, then, businesses choose...

  • On-premises when they need the strongest security for sensitive data, fastest data access, and for workloads to be able to communicate with each other with the lowest latency
  • Private cloud when they want the security and performance of self-owned infrastructure,
  • Public cloud when they want to minimize capital expenditure and scale with agility
  • Hybrid cloud when, as is often the case, they need to combine on-premises and cloud in an integrated way

The multi-cloud future

Where public cloud is the right move, trends show that businesses are increasingly taking a multi-cloud approach. According to Gartner, 86% of companies using public cloud now expect to go multi-cloud by 2020.

Multi-cloud leverages the best-value mix of public cloud services to handle various workloads – but it’s not as simple as subscribing to multiple services.

A key part of “multi-cloud ready” infrastructure is automation. Because it attempts to integrate many different public cloud services, including applications, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and storage, in a single environment, multi-cloud can be complex. Automating functions like backup, security, compliance and network connections makes managing multi-cloud feasible.

In Europe, multi-cloud adoption has been slow so far: IDC research showed only 9% of organisations were multi-cloud ready in 2018. However, a near majority (42%) are also moving towards multi-cloud, commonly citing cost management as their biggest incentive.

We partner with cloud vendors

The more prevalent cloud computing becomes, the more diverse solutions are likely to become – giving businesses endless choice and almost too many options to consider.

At TBT Marketing we combine expert technical knowledge with deep marketing knowhow. We’ve partnered with industry leaders including Cloud28+ to help business customers understand where their needs and cloud solution benefits meet. If you’d like to know how we could help market your cloud offerings, please contact us.

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