Efficiency. Agility. Productivity. Businesses everywhere are trying to do more with fewer resources in less time. In the age of everyday disruption and continuous innovation, the public cloud allows business owners to focus on what is most important – their core business.
While few can deny how prevalent the public cloud is becoming on the IT landscape, some businesses are still hesitant to forego their on-prem systems, private or hybrid cloud solutions, and go all-in on the public cloud. Above all, public clouds have a clear edge in security, reliability, and elasticity. If your organization is still hesitant to commit to the cloud, you need to know what you’re missing – the time to fully embrace the cloud is now!
The Public Cloud
Cloud computing has improved through new, innovative servers such as the public cloud model. The cloud service providers utilize the ubiquity of the internet to provide services relating to infrastructure, storage, servers, physical security, and businesses. The cloud providers own and operate facilities containing shared physical hardware and offer this to companies based on their needs. The pricing model varies based on the business’s supply, demand, storage, performance, and resilience needs.
Popular public cloud services include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. While the technology is similar, each cloud solution provides different advantages and disadvantages based on an organization’s business needs.
An on-premise model requires the IT department of a company to predict the maximum load on systems, then purchase and monitor the systems every day. Capacity is idle when they are overallocated. If they are underestimated, customer satisfaction plunges due to poor performance. Such as the case when the US Government announced the Affordable Care Act portals. Another disadvantage of the on-premise model is that a system’s capacity and performance cannot be purchased on real-time needs. This means that if a companies peak purchasing season is for two months a year, it has to maintain the same level of capacity for the other ten, creating expensive unused capacity.
Public cloud providers offer services on a pay-as-you-go model enabling the customer to purchase only the capacity needed. So during the peak holiday season, a company can expand its capacity and then dial it back out of season, thus creating a cheaper alternative to the on-premise model. On-premise equipment is generally purchased with capital expense money while public cloud costs are shifted to operational expenses. These providers also employ teams to build and manage the logistics behind it, allowing a company to focus on their core competencies. While doing so allows a company’s time to be placed elsewhere, it is also cheaper to let the providers manage the cloud’s technical side. IT teams have advanced technology and training, which allows them to bring better components to the marketplace fast and cheaper. In doing this, the cloud providers have built their environments to focus on security, reliability, and performance.
|Hardware purchased in advance |
Hardware and Software setup and maintained by dedicated IT staff
Patches, updates, and security owned by the IT staff
High Availability requires duplication of hardware, software, and networking
Pay upfront and ongoing maintenance
|Cloud provider owns and maintains the hardware |
Cloud provider maintains software and setup
Patches, updates, and physical security provided by the cloud provider
High Availability is offered by the cloud provider for nominal costs in multiple regions around the globe
Pay as you go
A vast majority of the public cloud run on a virtualization model. This setup is where logical servers are deployed as software, allowing physical servers to run up to hundreds of virtual servers on a single piece of equipment. As these systems are virtual, they can be started and stopped in a matter of minutes.
With the on-premise model, often the business has to plan, budget, purchase, receive, unpack, install, configure, test, monitor, and maintain that same gear. Often these steps take months and force businesses into a position where they are coerced into negotiating and accepting long-term contracts.
|Plan, budget, purchase, receive, unpack, install, configure, test, monitor, and maintain hardware and software||Spin-up systems in minutes|
The cloud model is a shared ownership model. The cloud providers own the facilities, power, cooling, physical computer equipment, and the underlying software that runs it all. The data centers use state-of-the-art, redundant networks. They routinely update the equipment and monitor it all for issues. Therefore, the business still owns the installation, configuration, and management of the business application components.
Historically, IT spent over half its budget on network and systems engineers to do the work the cloud provider’s IT staff does today. Despite having a substantial budget, the IT department was always understaffed and unable to meet its obligations. After migrating to the public cloud, the business can restructure their organization to focus on teams with appropriate skill sets to build and manage applications that grow and make more money for their business, while delegating the non-core competency work to the cloud provider.
|IT and network engineers dedicated to the IT systems |
Hardware becomes obsolete and must be replaced
|IT systems managed by the cloud provider |
Usually running on state of the art hardware
Economies of Scale
The public cloud is multi-tenant and offers enormous economies of scale unmatched by most on-premise data centers. Businesses get the latest infrastructure optimized for their needs because the cloud infrastructure is purchased in bulk by the cloud providers. Companies buy smaller chunks of the infrastructure, based on statistical models showing each tenant’s needs as they differ over scale and time.
This model includes network access, operating system software, load balancing, firewalls, cloud delivery networks, and hundreds of other technologies that may never be affordable for small and medium businesses. Small companies can start with essential services, then opportunistically add more functionality as their business grows.
|Must plan, purchase, install, and run all components |
Some technology is not affordable
|Take advantage of best in class equipment shared between customers |
Access to state of the art technology at a reasonable cost
A massive opportunity with the public cloud is the R&D scenario. A business can incrementally make the service work the way they want by experimenting with specific settings and applications. This can then be expanded to the existing environment or be migrated onto a new production environment. If it does not work the way a business wanted it to, they can shut it down immediately while only paying for the small increment of time used. The system then releases the CPU cores, memory, and storage, and stops billing the business. The business only pays for the time they use the system, and there are usually no long-term contracts. With the on-premises model, however, this equipment would be retained at a high cost, making the business sign long-term contracts.
Since it is so easy to create an environment, it is important to embed an oversight and governance process to ensure the business is optimizing its utilization.
|Environments process through the same plan, install, run cycle |
R&D requires non-refundable infrastructure investments
|Spin up a test environment, conduct the test, and shut it down with just a few keystrokes |
Pay as you go models provide a simple way to lower overall costs
A small business can expand their networks globally in minutes using the public cloud. The public cloud providers have data centers linked to each other around the world. If a US business suddenly discovered a huge market in the Baltic region, it can leverage the public cloud near the Baltic region, shifting its computing resources closer to its customers without negatively impacting the US offering. The public cloud also makes it super simple to provide a robust computing environment worldwide, including compliance with local laws such as GDPR. By contrast, there is a high level of effort required to open an on-premises data center in the Baltic region.
|Negotiate and sign contracts for hosting in each site |
Purchase, setup, and maintain gear in each site
Hire staff to maintain gear in each site
|Select region from command line or menu |
Hosting centers, network infrastructure, power, and cooling are managed by the cloud provider
Redundancy and Uptime
On-premise models require businesses to own or lease data centers in different cities (or countries), pay for redundant network connections, procure equipment for all of this, and keep it maintained. These various costs are skyrocketed when a business must build for high availability, creating further disadvantages, especially for small businesses.
Public cloud providers guarantee more than 99% uptime and no risk of failure since their systems are interconnected. In the instance where one server fails, these systems automatically transfer to another system in another data center with no downtime. Mission-critical systems can be designed for fault tolerance to ensure all components remain online during the worst disaster scenarios. This allows businesses to design their systems for high availability to take advantage of the cloud provider’s coverage network.
|Uptime is expensive. |
Building infrastructure to support five-nines requires redundant systems in multiple locations
|Public cloud providers usually offer this for a fraction of the total cost of ownership|
Interesting in taking the next steps on your journey to the cloud? Get started with a free one-hour assessment here.