Making the most of cloud – private, public, hybrid and virtual private

In today’s complex world of mobile workstyle and always-on access, cloud computing provides the flexibility and agility that we need. But in an organization full of varying tasks, workloads and strategies, it can be difficult to always know which type of cloud is the right one – or indeed the right ones. In fact, given the complexity of most organizations and their working natures, it may make more sense to have a mix of clouds to address their different needs.

Going about it

It begins with evaluation.

·         Evaluate your goals, what are your desired outcomes from your cloud strategy, then make a checklist.

·         Is your starting point one of leveraging your current investment in IT hardware, or  refreshing it with a new architecture?

·         How sensitive is your data and therefore how vital is security for what you want to run in the cloud? Is your company ok to keep data away from your own physical control, or does data away from your control likely to give you ‘separation anxiety’?

·         Who will access the applications and from where?

Next is establishing expectation levels.

·         How agile do you need your cloud and your company to be? Agility is very different for a large manufacturing company than for an e-commerce operation, for example.

·         What are the workload requirements? For app development and testing, the workload is sporadic and needs no public access, but for customer-facing online apps, you must ensure fast response times, always available and prevent unauthorized access to the corporate network – while remembering that demand will spike around events like product launches and marketing promotions.

Making the selection

The nature of a task or application, or what many call ‘workload’, is key to selecting the right cloud and the right infrastructure powering the desired services.  Running a simple ‘Cloud Test’ against each workload’s characteristics can help with your first level of selection.

Private Cloud Test

Workload Characteristic

Core Business Application

Static / Predictable Usage

Static / Predictable Capacity

Extensive Security and Compliance

No unplanned or unforeseen usage

*choose private cloud if you checked 3

A Private Cloud is a dedicated and virtualized environment hosted on-premise or co-located in a secure third party data center.  This environment is designed for running core business applications of medium and large enterprises. It could also be used for non-core or supporting applications that require flexibility if the scale justifies it.

In a recent use case, we saw a multi-brand fashion house create a consolidated hosting infrastructure in a private cloud environment, connecting all its business units in three different regions around the world. Doing this gave them a managed, dedicated environment with flexibility, scalability and a short provisioning time – and also enabled a worldwide disaster recovery setup, strengthening their business continuity plan at the same time.

Virtual Private Cloud Test

Workload Characteristic

Variable Usage

Variable Capacity

Specific Security and Compliance needs

Managed Services / SLA Commitments

Eliminate / Minimize One Time Costs

*choose virtual private cloud if you checked 3

A virtual private cloud (VPC) is a shared platform but with some level of dedicated infrastructure either at the Computing level, Storage Filer levels, or Network Security level. A VPC platform typically shares most of the characteristics of a Private Cloud.

Small to medium enterprises hosting their core business applications in a VPC can enjoy similar performance, compliance and SLA commitments as with a Private Cloud, but at a lower cost. For a setup with an annual IT budget of less than $500K, a VPC would be a suitable choice.  A VPC is also a very popular destination for data archival and backup since it offers the reliability, data sovereignty and performance of a private cloud but at a fraction of the price.

Public Cloud Test

Workload Characteristic

Unpredictable Usage

Unpredictable Capacity

Unpredictable Duration

Low value of Service Management

Low concern on Security / Compliance

*choose public cloud if you checked 3

A Public Cloud is typically a shared platform with no level of commitment or reservation needed, and operates as a genuine ‘pay-as-you-use’ service. Small and medium organizations and start-ups have enjoyed many benefits from public cloud platforms, as have e-commerce and digital media companies of all sizes.

Buying resources in a Public Cloud platform is comparable to ‘renting’ hardware from a vendor. However, configuring the hardware as per the user requirements and managing the IT operations still needs to be done and is not typically offered directly by Public Cloud providers. Such services come mainly through partners, third party providers or your own in-house capability.

And, finally, Hybrid Cloud Test

Given the diverse and complex applications used in organizations, it’s highly likely that a medium to large enterprise will have workloads requiring more than one of the cloud types. If the earlier Cloud Tests show that there are at least 2 different types of cloud that most workloads fall into, that is an indication that you need a Hybrid Cloud. In such a scenario, you can expect greater complexity in your IT Operations, making it important to have a mechanism that provides you a view of ‘One Cloud’ rather than of disparate clouds, managing multiple diverse clouds as if it is one enterprise cloud. That will be a topic for another blog!

Making sure you know “what’s under the hood”

On top of choosing the right type of a Cloud for running your business and applications there is another factor that may impact the performance and efficiency of your workloads dramatically. It is the infrastructure that is running under the hood of the Cloud Service Provider data center. Understanding options and making the right choice of type of server and processor for your business may lead to time and money savings. It has been reported that a heterogeneous cloud infrastructure environment may result in 40 to 60 percent performance variation severely impacting user experience and time it takes to process the request. Therefore it is recommended to gain more insight into the performance, capabilities and cost trade-offs of the many instances that are offered so the right size and type of performance are matched to your specific workloads.

- - -

To read more about Orange Business cloud computing, please visit: Embrace the cloud

To find out more about why underlying infrastructure powering your Cloud services matters, impacts your applications performance and operating costs, watch: Intel Cloud Technology

If you would like to know more about how processor technologies can accelerate your workloads to save you time and money, watch: Improving Cloud Performance with Intel Cloud Technology

Derrick Loi
Derrick Loi is currently the Senior Director for Orange Data Centre and Cloud, Asia Pacific, at Orange Business where he is responsible for the entire portfolio of managed data centre services, cloud services and professional services practice in Asia Pacific.
Prior to working for Orange, Derrick worked for SingTel, BT Infonet and Cisco, where he was involved in direct P&L management of sales, pre-sales, business development, channel sales, product management and professional services in data center, hosting, cloud and telco managed services in Asia Pacific.