Cloud computing has exploded. Whether you are using Gmail, Dropbox or any other Internet-based application, you are utilizing cloud resources. These tools have become an integral part of our daily lives and an instrument to provide superior service to customers in a business setting. Cloud computing is not a new concept, but there are several basics that remain muddled. This blog post lays out these basics in simple terms to help you understand how to effectively sell your cloud environment.
How does cloud work?
There are three types of cloud: public, private and hybrid. A public cloud model utilizes shared resources to provide virtual machines to its users. The compute resources are hosted on infrastructure that is shared among all users, which reduces the overall cost for them. Users are given on demand access to resources and are billed based on their metered usage. The service provider manages all components of their cloud environment.
Private cloud environments are typically for organizations that want to own and manage their infrastructure. While this is a more costly way to achieve compute resources, it is the most secure form of cloud computing because you can dictate the physical location and security of your hardware. Individual departments, multiple locations and end users can be charged back internally or invoiced based on metered usage similar to the public cloud model, turning IT into a profit center.
Hybrid cloud environments are a combination of public and private computing models. The end user utilizes both a public and private cloud solution. As service providers providing public cloud to your customers, you can act as a type of cloud broker. For example, the private portion of the cloud can be used internally and can be offered to your customers for their mission critical data. The public portion can be sold to external end users looking for compute resources. Alternatively, the public cloud portion could be used to host non-mission-critical data for your company.
Where is it hosted?
Each type of cloud can be hosted either on premise or off premise. On premise infrastructure is just that, hosted on site where it will be utilized; and can be used for any of the three types of cloud models. As a service provider offering cloud, whether your cloud infrastructure is hosted on premise or off premise is a business decision. Below are a few things to consider when determine where to host your cloud:
- Datacenter locations (geographical locations)
- Customer base locations for reduced latency and enhanced user experience
- Disaster recovery strategy
Advantages and disadvantages
Public cloud inherently uses shared infrastructure to provide compute resources to its end users. This allows them to obtain the power of the cloud in a cost efficient manner, but is the least secure of the three cloud models. Offering public cloud gives your end users accessibility to resources and gives them access needed to run applications and virtual machines on demand. Public cloud offers an additional revenue stream for your business and automates the launch process for your technical staff.
Private cloud is the most costly of the three methods, but is also the most secure and allows dictation over specific security measures of your infrastructure. Offering private cloud to your end users gives them the security they require from a trusted service provider.
Hybrid cloud environments are initially costly, but can help you generate revenue over their lifetime. This option gives your end users the flexibility they need to host mission-critical data in a secure environment. At the same time, the public side offers a cost effective solution to run less critical data.
Businesses are moving to the cloud as a means to reduce rising business costs and provide their employees and end users with the consistent resources they need. Below are a few reasons why you should consider migrating to the cloud:
- Utilize Existing Infrastructure: Implementing a cloud solution doesnt mean you have to invest in new infrastructure. Utilize your infrastructure by adding automation and offer on demand resources to end users without the capital investment.
- Scalability: Cloud applications are scalable, meaning that they can adapt to the amount of compute a business needs. For example, a tax firm will need more resources in April than any other part of the year. Scalability allows the firm to use as many or as little resources necessary.
- Expanded Product Portfolio: Cloud is one way to offer your customers new products and services including applications, virtual machines, disaster recovery options, white label services and managed services. Businesses are moving to cloud environments and are looking for trusted partners like you to provide these services.
- Internal Private Cloud: Not only can you offer cloud services to your customer, but also you can use these resources for internal use. Because of the integrated usage monitoring, it allows your company to know which resources each department is utilizing so IT can account for these resources accurately.
These are only the basics of the very complex cloud service model. Understanding these principles is necessary to knowledgeably sell your cloud environment to your customers as you find your voice as a cloud provider in your industry.