Many of today’s midsized and enterprise businesses are at a decision point: digital transformation is no longer simply nice to have; it’s key to relevance, competitiveness, and ongoing growth.
Legacy systems — some of which are still key to core business processes — impact performance, holding you back from reaping the benefits of digital transformation. They cannot scale, and they simply weren’t built to interface with the growing world of cloud-native applications and systems.
Cloud business technology is key to enabling effective digital transformation. And while there are multiple “flavours” to the cloud, a holistic cloud strategy that is aligned to business goals and includes a robust and secure Private Cloud pillar can be the most effective path forward for many businesses.
To learn more about how the cloud factors into a broader business-wide transformation, see this ultimate guide to digital transformation.
While there is great understanding on the options with cloud, here’s a quick refresher on the primary categories of cloud, their attributes and benefits, to help with building your business case. Public Cloud uses storage and computing resources from a public cloud service provider rather than relying on in-house architecture. Public cloud servers are off-site, residing in large data centres owned by firms such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. Businesses typically share these cloud resources with other customers of their cloud provider. Using a public cloud strategy frees your business from responsibility for procuring, managing, and maintaining your own data centres and infrastructure. With the public cloud, resources are highly scalable and reasonably affordable, though there are certain limitations we’ll discuss later.
Private Cloud uses the same principles and strategies of the public cloud but as a single-tenant environment. The physical infrastructure for a Private Cloud can physically reside either with the cloud provider or with the customer, and the same is true regarding associated maintenance and upkeep.
While at first glance private cloud sounds quite similar to on-premise, the key difference is that Private Cloud environments speak the language of the cloud and can natively interact with cloud services and applications in a way that on-premises environments cannot.
In the middle lies the Hybrid Cloud model, which combines both public and private, allowing organisations to enjoy the benefits of both public and private clouds where applicable as a part of their Cloud GTM strategy.
While the public cloud has been and continues to be transformative, operating in the public cloud isn’t without its challenges.
• Physical security and privacy: Many organisations dislike the loss of a physical security perimeter that is inherent in choosing a cloud solution. While there are methods for overcoming this potential loss in security, each has its own set of costs and concerns.
• A public cloud strategy can also lead to privacy concerns as multiple tenants share the same cloud environment. In some cases privacy regulations prevent a company from relying on a public cloud solution for certain processes or uses.
• Lack of control: Using the public cloud involves losing some control over your environment and everything running within it. A multi-tenant environment means you’re sharing resources with other customers. To keep those resources widely available, public cloud providers limit user customisation.
• The provider additionally owns the hardware and the software together, which gives them the prerogative to change anything (small or large) as they like — regardless of whether that change will break something you need unbroken.
• Consumption based pricing & bill shock: “Pay only for what you use” may sound good at first glance (and it is in fact a selling point found in public cloud marketing). The challenge here is what happens when you suddenly need a lot more or, worse, when a VM or other resource performs unexpectedly and skyrockets your usage. The resulting bill shock can be painful, even problematic.
Private cloud delivers several advantages compared to public cloud, including these.
• Dedicated assets and customised performance: When you need specific performance capabilities or customizations a public cloud provider may or may not support, a private cloud strategy is the solution. With dedicated assets — perhaps even operating inside your physical location — you have access to much greater control and customisation.
• Zero RPO and RTO: Because the Private Cloud operates closer to your organisation (often even physically on premises), you gain advantages in disaster recovery. Both Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) can be at or near zero with private cloud, whereas this is not possible on public.
• Fixed pricing: Contrasted to the public cloud’s pay-for-what-you-use model, Private Cloud uses more fixed pricing. Whether self-managed or hosted private cloud, this fixed pricing tends to be lower at scale (but consider the cost of any hardware you must maintain that would not exist on public).
• 100% data integrity: Immutable storage for data that’s fixed, unchangeable and can never be deleted – vital to meet recoverable data needs, protect backups from new ransomware infections, and guarantee recovery from an attack.
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Consider these four ways that Private Cloud contributes to optimal digital transformation.
• Regulations and compliance needs: Cloud services can create complications for certain businesses facing specific regulations or compliance requirements. Most private cloud providers can provide data residency and regulatory benefits since they operate as a single tenant environment.
• Optimised usage: Through the use of containers, microservices, and serverless architecture, businesses are growing their usage independent of hardware. Private cloud uses dynamic software-defined features to optimise usage.
• Agility: The cloud in general gives businesses far greater agility, allowing them to scale up and down, pivot, experiment, and change strategy far faster and far easier than legacy environments could support.
• Cost transparency and predictability: Traditional architectures create spikes in expenditure and unpredictable costs. Public clouds can do the same when usage spikes. Private clouds, on the other hand, offer a greater degree of cost transparency and far fewer surprises.
While the private cloud is key to digital transformation, it has its own set of challenges and pain points.
• Disparate infrastructure and silos: The promise of the cloud was to eliminate the problems of disparate infrastructure and data silos. Unfortunately, poorly managed cloud migrations can bring those problems into the cloud. It’s possible for a private cloud to become its own information silo, especially in organisations taking a hybrid cloud approach. However, this can be overcome by working with effective monitoring and cloud management tools that span across hybrid/multicloud environments.
• Legacy virtualisation: All cloud infrastructure faces a risk where legacy systems may not translate or virtualise well into cloud architecture. It’s crucial to perform a comprehensive assessment before moving any legacy system to any cloud environment.
• Open source complexity: Because organisations have more control and responsibility over private clouds, it’s possible to create a cloud environment with higher than ideal levels of complexity relying on diverse open-source tools.
• Lack of cloud skills: Private cloud requires more internal support than public, but sourcing, hiring, and retaining qualified cloud engineers is a persistent problem. There simply aren’t enough professionals to go around. This challenge can be offset by working with the right MSP to manage your Private Cloud as a service.
Though there are a number of cost structures for Private Cloud environments, most of them work differently than costs for public clouds. Whereas with the public cloud you typically pay for what you use, on the Private Cloud you pay to reserve access to a certain level of computing availability.
For a closer look at the cost efficiencies of Private Cloud with CBS, our team will be happy to discuss this topic. Reach out to our experts to get started.
A wide range of businesses and industries can benefit from the advantages of a Private Cloud. Industries with reporting and compliance requirements, including healthcare and finance, benefit from the increased security and compliance. Similarly, government organisations can benefit from the privacy, control, and cost advantages of private cloud.
Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) is a leading provider of IT consulting and IT services and offers a wide range of cloud strategy solutions. Through our private cloud service, CBS offers businesses a next-gen Private Cloud that delivers confidentiality, integrity, and availability, 24/7. Transparent, predictable pricing along with zero RTO and RPO join powerful scalability, delivering a complete Private Cloud solution that will meet your needs and exceed your expectations.
Reach out today to learn more.