According to the latest report from 451 Research (News - Alert), more than half of enterprises want to become cloud-first businesses within the next two years, with the majority attracted to software as a service running in a public cloud environment.
Migrating IT workloads to the cloud isn’t without its challenges, however, and the public cloud in particular has several pitfalls companies need to avoid. Cloud Computing Magazine recently spoke with Jeff Kaplan, CEO of Breakthrough Technology Group (BTG), to get his advice on key considerations enterprises should keep in mind before moving to the cloud.
As businesses everywhere look to migrate their computing environment to the cloud, what misconceptions of both private and public cloud deployments would you like to clear up?
Some companies have the misconception that a private cloud is a term given to an on-premises data center. While a private cloud can be deployed in this manner, it's also common for the private cloud data center to be off premises.
What makes a cloud offering "private" is the focus on isolation, either from a virtual or physical nature, provided for by the provider. The level of flexibility needs to be there to meet the customer business and compliance requirements.
In a public cloud environment, organizations share resources across the provider's infrastructure; virtualization technology is intended to prevent clients from gaining access to each other’s data. One of the biggest fallacies about public cloud is that the cloud provider is responsible for ensuring the client’s workloads are backed up regularly and kept secure. In reality, if you look at most public cloud SLAs (service level agreements), you’ll find that they use a "shared responsibility model," which means the provider has some security responsibilities, but customers share part of the burden, too.
Failing to understand the public cloud model has created some significant problems, too, especially from a budget perspective. Many customers believe it is always the lowest cost model and often the overall monthly spend once up and running is higher than anticipated. Typically, a company will need to have a third-party migrate (and potentially manage) the environment for them. In addition, there are variable costs that come into play based on usage that often increase expenses.
What are some key differences between public and private cloud environments that should factor in midmarket companies’ migration strategy? Please explain multitenancy vs. a single-instance tenant.
A Typical Public Cloud is very good at delivering a set of resources to customers who only pay for what they use. Almost always, the Public Cloud is a Multi-tenant environment. That means that there are always multiple tenants on a shared infrastructure.
A Single Tenant Private Cloud implies that there is only one company on their own infrastructure, which is dedicated to them.
There is also a third model, which is a Private cloud from a provider such as BTG that allows for Single tenancy within a multi-tenant model. In this scenario, some components, such as the compute layer can be dedicated to a single tenant, while other components, such as switching, can be shared but virtually isolated for a single tenant. This allows for the utmost flexibility while providing the low-cost efficiencies of a multi-tenant environment. Important to note, is that the entire environment is private, secure and can meet all of the customer’s business and regulatory requirements as it can be customized and fine-tuned for each customer.
In a public cloud environment, users are typically limited to multi-tenancy and the entire environment is self-service. If you have the IT team with the expertise – and that is qualified to support this model – it may make sense for you.
Many customers, however, need a partner that can function as an extension of their IT department, providing the critical technical expertise and know-how to solve complex technical issues and delivering a build-to-suit environment that can scale with future growth.
The topic of security highlights a few critical differences between public and private cloud environments, too. Organizations in highly regulated industries, such as banks and financial companies — plus other businesses that have their internal reasons for safeguarding their data — prefer the private cloud set-up. The straightforward appeal is compelling; dedicated computing environments that are absolutely segregated from one another, managed and monitored by a trusted partner; white-glove approach to engineering support and 24 x 7 enterprise support including 15 minutes response time on “Severity 1” issues.
Data jurisdiction is another security concern for some companies. Many businesses must know precisely where their data is stored at all times and take steps to ensure it's not crossing international borders. Few public cloud providers can make this guarantee, but managed private cloud service providers can.
What is a “managed private cloud” environment?
A managed private cloud environment is an architecture that Is purpose-built with privacy and security in mind. The best ones are from providers who have built out a scalable, resilient and flexible environment that can meet the needs of organizations of all sizes.
The visibility and control of managed private cloud service environments can help organizations mitigate risk. For banks and financial services companies, for example, it’s essential to maintain the integrity of data and computing environments at levels comparable to on-premises deployments. High-profile breaches continue to make headlines, and with regulatory bodies like FINRA increasing scrutiny of business continuity plans, firms must protect their data no matter where it resides and vigilantly manage their IT environments.
What advantages does a managed private cloud service offer midmarket businesses over public cloud options?
To summarize points mentioned earlier, managed private cloud services offer midmarket businesses three advantages over public cloud options, including:
- A higher level of security and data privacy, made possible through dedicated and isolated computing environments, and data jurisdiction.
- Fewer computing silos because managed private cloud services are tailored to the needs of businesses, as opposed to consumers, and offer more agility, visibility and flexibility, saving business from having to aggregate services from multiple cloud providers.
- Greater customization and flexibility. Because of the way private cloud offerings are configured — with dedicated and isolated environments for each customer and complete visibility and control over the infrastructure, making changes is much more straightforward and quicker. For example, if an end customer's security requirements change, their environment in real-time. Public cloud service providers, on the other hand, likely either wouldn't be able to accommodate the request or would need several weeks to make the change.
Jeff Kaplan is CEO of Breakthrough Technology Group, an award-winning managed private cloud services provider.
Edited by Mandi Nowitz