For nearly a quarter of a century, MicroData of Beverly, Massachusetts has been providing tech support services and products to small and mid-sized businesses throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. For the past two years, MicroData has offered clients in-house, private cloud services. MicroData President and CEO Glenn Mores discusses the basics of cloud computing and the newest solution: the hybrid cloud.
(Photo courtesy of Glenn Mores)
What is the difference between pure cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud services?
As a baseline definition, ‘cloud’ simply means that data is stored somewhere other than an organization’s physical location. It can also mean that processing of data is performed somewhere else.
A pure cloud solution is a 100 percent cloud-based configuration. In other words, essentially all services that make up the IT solution at an organization are in the cloud. This includes services like email, accounting, CRM and other mainstream business applications, but also includes traditional desktop productivity software like Microsoft Office.
A private cloud is a recently introduced concept where data is stored in the cloud, but it’s special because each customer’s information is kept separate from other customers. Each customer gets their own exclusive and private workspace.
Hybrid cloud solutions are a combination of cloud and on-premises technologies. This shouldn’t be confused with migrating an app or two to the cloud and leaving some stuff local. A true hybrid cloud solution is carefully planned to take advantage of the strengths and advantages of both cloud and premises solutions.
Hybrid cloud is trending, so what are the advantages of this type of service?
Hybrid cloud offers many advantages because it overcomes some of the inherent sacrifices of the cloud. One major drawback of the cloud is performance. Cloud performance is limited by three factors, all of which are beyond the direct control of the customer.
- Cloud vendors will throttle bandwidth that is available to each customer. Because using the cloud means that information has to be sent back and forth over the internet, performance will be tied to that connection.
- Whenever accessing data over the internet, performance will be limited to the slowest link between the end user and the data being accessed. In any given connection over the internet, there are many routers and switches, or ‘hops,’ over which the data has to travel. If one link is slow, all traffic traveling over that link will slow to that same speed.
- Application performance will be limited to what the vendor is willing to allocate to the task. Just like bandwidth, vendors will limit processing capability to what you’re willing to pay for and minimally what they think customers will accept.
When properly set up, a hybrid cloud solution is enormously quicker than working in the cloud, typically 15-20 times faster. Proper design consists of identifying those data transfer and processing needs that are the most intensive, and moving them onto the customer’s premises. Non real-time data needs are moved to the cloud. Hybrid cloud also offers very robust security and user management that isn’t present with basic cloud solutions. And, while a hybrid cloud solution does require some premises equipment and periodic management, it’s significantly simpler than a complete premises solution.
This article was written by Michelle Guilbeau for Small Business Pulse