June 17, 2013

Public vs. Private Clouds – Which Applications are Public Cloud Ready?


Hostway Team


CIO online (www.cio.com) published an article about the top 10 use cases that are ready for the public cloud once privacy and security concerns are addressed. Their top 10 list was:

  1. Development and Testing
  2. Development Platform Services
  3. Training Servers
  4. One Time Big Data Projects
  5. Websites
  6. Customer Relationship Management
  7. Project Management, Expense Reporting and Time Management
  8. Email
  9. Human Resources
  10. Cloud-Based Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus Services

The premise of the article is that public clouds more than satisfy the privacy and security concerns for the above use cases. In addition, public clouds offer additional cost savings over private clouds or managed servers with the pay-as-you-go model and rapid scalability including the ability to spin up or down instances as needed. If your company is thinking about trying out the public cloud, consider testing it in one of the use cases above.

Hostway has also put together a whitepaper listing eight specific applications that are cloud ready. This list includes both public and private cloud-ready applications:

  1. Email
  2. Collaboration software
  3. Customer relationship management platforms
  4. E-commerce websites
  5. Non-commerce websites
  6. Enterprise resource planning systems
  7. Home-grown legacy applications
  8. Disaster recovery (DR) systems

Because it’s not specific to public clouds, the Hostway whitepaper lists applications that may be better suited toward private clouds, depending on your requirements. For example, private clouds are great for DR and business continuity (BC) because of the ability to replicate data in near real-time. However, with Windows Server 2012 this functionality will soon be available in a public cloud environment through Hyper-V replication. Hostway is currently offering this service in beta and expects to launch in production later this year. This is particularly important when working with large databases as you simply cannot take the risk of being a day or week behind and losing data to a disaster. You need to be able to recover data that is five minutes old or in some instances as little as one minute old.

The two lists above are strikingly similar, indicating that there is agreement that the public cloud has enormous potential for businesses of any size. Moving non-mission-critical applications to public clouds has the advantage of saving on IT resources in several ways. For one, it frees up IT resources from mundane maintenance tasks and enables them to focus on more strategic initiatives. It also saves on capital expenditure – it eliminates the need to invest in expensive server and backend SAN and NAS devices, allowing you to spin up VMs when needed and then spin them back down when demand drops. And potentially the most important benefit is that you gain flexibility through the ability to tailor your resource utilization in real time and consume only what you need. This is a major advantage over your typical private cloud or dedicated server which has fixed costs that can’t easily be reduced even if your traffic goes down.

Hostway provides 24x7x365 support from highly trained professionals to assist customers with daily tasks, customization and issue resolution. These advantages are particularly important to the SMB business that often does not have the resources to hire highly trained IT professionals to run a separate IT division.

But what do you think? Do you think a public cloud is secure enough to handle your email? What about your Customer Relationship Management software? What applications do you think are public-cloud ready and which ones do you think need to be held in a private cloud or dedicated server? Do you agree with the lists above? What would you add? What would you subtract? What’s your position on public vs. private cloud?

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