Sunday, 16 July 2017
Different Types of Clouds Currently Available; Pros and Cons
Cloud adoption in the Middle East is growing significantly as enterprises are seeing tremendous value in having a scalable and flexible pool of resources at their fingertips. The assurance of lower IT costs and scalability has drawn IT decision makers to move their business-critical data and applications to the cloud. Customers are driven to cloud services for cost optimization, agility and more time for them to focus on creating profitability avenues as most IT operations are shifted to cloud and managed by serviced providers. Cloud allows easy and feasible extension of business capabilities and provides enterprises a competitive edge over those who are lagging on the technology front. The popularity of the pay-as-you-go model in the Middle East is another driver towards cloud adoption.
There are three main models for architecting cloud computing. Each model represents a different part of the cloud computing stack. Understanding the difference between various forms of cloud computing including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), can help end users decide what the right fit is for them.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a service that provides access to IT and computing resources on a demand based model. These include server computing, virtual computers, hardware computers, networking, data storage, amongst others. This form of cloud computing provides IT managers the maximum flexibility in managing their resources while maintaining the traditional form of IT administration and audits.
Platforms as a service (PaaS) removes the need for IT organisations to directly manage their underlying technology platforms including hardware and operating systems. It allows them to focus on deployment and management of business applications. With this service, IT managers are less involved in resource procurement, capacity planning, systems maintenance and upgrades.
Software as a Service (SaaS) provides end users with a ready to use business application experience, eliminating their involvement in setting up of the technology platform, hardware infrastructure, and application hosting configuration. This helps business and IT managers focus on matching application features and functionality with internal work requirements.
While the terms IaaS, PaaS, SaaS relatively describe the constituents inside a cloud offering, how a cloud platform is set up is also important for end users. There are three different ways in which cloud platforms can be built, which can be summarized as follows:
Public Cloud: The public cloud has its services provided over the internet and the customer’s applications are hosted in the service provider’s premises. Public cloud is hosted and managed by third party service provider, making it simple and efficient to use. The usage of the services in this type of cloud can be regulated according to the number of users in an organization, resulting in minimal cost and as the third party hosts the services, there will be no maintenance cost to the organization. In other words, the public cloud service has easy access to data and it works on a pay-per use model. Public cloud has proved beneficial to start-ups & small businesses as the services are outsourced from the third party.
Private Cloud: Private cloud is used to provide customized services and technology to specific customers. The private cloud is also known for the secure environment that it creates which is why many organizations seek private cloud. Private clouds can be deployed either in-house or within a service provider data centre.
Hybrid Cloud: An organization can also use a combination of private and public cloud, getting the benefits of both. These types of services where both private and public cloud is used, is called ‘hybrid cloud’. Organizations can reap various benefits of the hybrid cloud, but the most important is the flexibility that a hybrid cloud gives while using it.
While lower costs and scalability are the reasons for the increased uptake of the cloud, the major challenges for cloud adoption include security concerns for the data on cloud, compliance complications not allowing data to be hosted at data centers located outside the region and lack of adequate skill sets.
Cloud services are far more secure
Contrary to popular belief, partnering with a reliable cloud services provider is far more secure than in-house server hosting. Cloud service providers have a team of experts across technology domains including data security. They normally adopt state-of-the-art technology and solutions in all areas including security, which may not necessarily be the case with Enterprise IT. Also, cloud service providers constantly invest in and upgrade their technology, knowledge, skills and expertise in order to offer the latest hosting services to their customers. A reputed services provider is also certified for various quality and security certifications and conduct regular security system audits. Owing to the fact that they run and manage systems for multiple customers, they continuously keep themselves updated about the changing security threat landscape across verticals.
Recently, the Industry has seen the CSA Star certification becoming the de facto standard for cloud security services. We are proud of the fact that eHosting DataFort (eHDF) is the first company in the Middle East to achieve the CSA STAR Certification and we were awarded the Gold rating, which is the highest rating that can be awarded to any cloud services provider.
It is very important to choose the right cloud services provider and one of the determining factors should be the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that the cloud services provider can offer. At eHDF, we guarantee uptime, availability through offer credit based SLAs.
Also, we have a team of security analysts who monitor the environment on a 24/7 basis for log collection, real-time threat monitoring & management, vulnerability and device management. This is delivered from eHDF’s Cyber Defense Centre which also is enhancing its offerings in security intelligence, cloud enabled “use cases”, analyst automation and incident management.