These days most organisations with any form of IT investment are aware of or already using cloud resources. But for companies with a significant existing IT infrastructure, the notion of dropping their current investment and moving everything to the cloud is usually not realistic. Fortunately hybrid cloud options exist to fill in the gap between purely internal private clouds and outsourcing all IT to a public cloud. In this post I’ll define public, private, and hybrid models and the potential benefits of each to your organisation.
Different types of clouds
There are actually three major types of cloud computing, representing different types of exclusive and non-exclusive clouds. These are public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds.
Public clouds are shared, easily accessible, multi-customer IT infrastructures that are available non-exclusively to any entity in the general public (individuals, groups and/or organisations). Public cloud vendors provide applications, storage and other computing resources as services over the internet. Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage model.
Sharing mobile phones is a common practice among poor consumers in the developing world. Many customers use their own SIM card and switch it in and out when borrowing a mobile device. This practice can compromise privacy, however, and SIM cards are easy to lose. Now, millions of impoverished citizens in Africa and Asia will receive mobile phone numbers under a plan developed by the United Nations and a private technology company, Movirtu.
Movirtu (www.movirtu.com) is a cloud-based phone service that allows people to manage their own mobile network accounts — phone number, voice mail, texting and so on — without ever owning a phone or a SIM card. The Movirtu service is priced with lower income users in mind and the mobile network carriers will get a share of the profits.
Movirtu will supply low-cost mobile phone numbers to participants, who can use any mobile device to log in with their own number to make and receive calls and access information and services.
The main beneficiaries will be women in rural communities in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, as they are far less likely than men to own their own phones. Movirtu will bring the technology to 12 or more markets in the selected regions, improving the lives and expanding the earning potential of at least 50 million people.
The company selected Madagascar, an island nation off Africa’s east coast, as a starting point. The country has an extensive network, but many of its citizens cannot afford to buy a phone. The service became available via a local carrier throughout the island in August 2011.
Private clouds (also known as internal clouds or corporate clouds) are IT infrastructures that are accessible only by a single entity or by an exclusive group of related entities that share the same purpose and requirements, such as all the business units within a single organisation.
With private clouds, IT activities and applications are provided as a service over an intranet within an enterprise. Private clouds are usually private because of the need for system and data security, and for this reason they are behind the corporate firewall.
The concept of a “hybrid cloud” is meant to bridge the gap between high control, high cost “private cloud” and highly scalable, flexible, low cost “public cloud”. The concept revolves heavily around connectivity and data portability. Simply put, a “hybrid cloud” is the simultaneous usage of public and private cloud models to accomplish your organisation’s goals.
The use cases are numerous: resource burst-ability for seasonal demand, development and testing on a uniform platform without consuming local resources, disaster recovery, and of course excess capacity to make better use of or free up local consumption.
So what’s a company to do?
For the majority of organisations today, the optimum solution for their many and varied use cases is a hybrid cloud. However, because no two organisations are alike the extent of their use of public, private and hybrid clouds can differ substantially and it is up to each organisation to determine the cloud model that is most appropriate for their business objectives and strategies
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