The cloud is not a one-size-fits all proposition. Companies can choose from several types of services, including public, private and hybrid clouds.
Public clouds. Public cloud services are based on a standard model in which the service providers offer their customers access to technology resources such as servers and applications. These services are typically provided on a pay-per-usage model or monthly subscription basis.
Organizations find public clouds appealing for various reasons. One is that the services are easy to start up and use. Another is the relatively low set-up costs — hardware and other costs are covered by the service provider, not by the customer. Also, public clouds can generate additional cost savings and efficiency improvements because organizations pay for only the resources they use. Public cloud services also scale easily, so companies can expand or reduce capacity as their needs change.
Private clouds. For organizations that are looking to reap many of the benefits of cloud computing but don’t want to use public cloud services, private clouds are another option. Private clouds are operated for a single organization, and involve the use of a proprietary network or data center that uses cloud computing technologies such as server virtualization.
In many cases, private clouds are managed by the organization that is using the service; however, in some cases, they’re managed by a third-party service provider. These services can be hosted internally or externally.
Private clouds are designed to offer some of the same benefits and capabilities as public cloud offerings as well as other advantages, such as greater control over applications and data. Because of this, private clouds can help organizations meet the security and compliance requirements for certain industries. They also tend to be less “one-size- fits-all” in nature, allowing companies to build more customized solutions. For example, they can support integrations into proprietary back-end systems, or special business process flows. While public clouds are suitable for applications that are more like utilities, private clouds suit applications that are differentiated within the business.
Hybrid clouds. Another variant is the hybrid cloud, which involves both private cloud and public cloud services. Hybrid clouds can be delivered by service providers that offer a private cloud and that partner with a public cloud provider. They can also be offered by public cloud providers that work directly with an organization that manages its own private cloud.
A hybrid cloud environment lets companies deliver some IT resources in-house while others are provided externally. For example, a company might use a private cloud for unified communications (UC) and a public cloud offering for disaster recovery and business continuity.
By allowing organizations to leverage the cost efficiencies of public clouds and still keep some applications in a private cloud, hybrid models provide flexibility. A hybrid cloud architecture requires that a company have both on-premises resources and off-site, server-based cloud infrastructure.
The Business Case For Cloud-Based Communications
One of the key factors for business success today is the flow of knowledge among employees, customers and business partners.