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Public, Community, and Private Cloud Explained

When talking about the difference between cloud storage types, the conversation can become overwhelming and murky very easily. At the root, though, cloud options are fairly simple.  Jeremy Fitzpatrick, NFINIT VP of Sales and Marketing, uses an analogy that explains cloud services in terms of homeownership and homeowners associations (HOA).

The ties between cloud storage and an HOA lie within four key areas: access, controls, decision-making, and cost.

Public Cloud – Renting an Apartment

cloud computingLet’s start by imagining the public cloud as a large apartment complex.

From an access perspective, there are several literal and figurative barriers to entry when someone lives in an apartment. Access is ultimately bound to community guidelines set by the complex owners and management companies. While cost-effective with no HOA fees, the trade-off is that someone is renting a space and must therefore follow the true owner’s “rules”.

In terms of control, a renter is able to maintain control only of their space and even that is limited by what the owners will allow in terms of number of occupants, pets, parking, paint color and other modifications. Renters have control over themselves and to some degree, who they allow into their space, but that is where it ends.

Public cloud is much the same in that individual companies are sharing a space with others and are bound to the guidelines and constraints set forth by the space owners. While each has control over who is allowed in their designated spot, rules of the community and surrounding area (much like that of an apartment complex) are determined by the building management.

There’s a little known “gotcha” in public cloud for egress and transactions that’s like charging a fee to apartment residents every time they come and go.

Check out this blog to see how quickly these public cloud costs can sneak up on you.

Community Cloud – Upgrading To A Condo

cloud hosting servicesMoving in the way of a having a bit more flexibility and control, we’ll go next to community cloud, which can be thought of as owning a condo in a nicer building with an HOA. In this scenario, homeowners have a bit more control and authority over their enviroment: they can make alterations to their space, for instance, and perhaps own more pets. Most importantly, they are integral in establishing rules and bylaws for the community.

The condo’s HOA, comprised of residents and operated by a management company, determines the way in which that community operates. So while condo owners have tremendous freedom and flexibility in what happens within their four walls, they must abide by some community HOA regulations designed for the benefit and safety of the community

Community cloud is similar in that businesses set the protocols and establish rules and procedures for their own space. The cloud provider, like the HOA, makes sure that residents have a safe haven by providing basic structure, security, and access to the community. As one can imagine, the cost is a bit higher than that of public cloud options, but for some, this  best-of-bothworlds approach is the ideal fit for their needs.

Private Cloud – Your Custom Dream Home

private cloud servicesThe ultimate in control and customization comes with private cloud, much like owning a home in an exclusive, gated community. With a home like this, you have exclusive control over your space – you can do what you want (as long as you’re abiding by local, state and federal laws!)

Owners decide who has access to the community and who can visit and enter their home, how those individuals gain access, how the home operates and looks, and more. In exchange for a fee, the HOA provides infrastructure, maintenance, and  a very secure, managed perimeter.

Private cloud works the same. The space is yours and yours alone. In essence, you’re the only resident of a gated community. Your private cloud host provides basic infrastructure, maintenance to the degree that wish, and a secure environment for your highest value data and critical applications.

With this increased control comes an added cost, of course.

Similar to home ownership, companies must consider all factors when determining where their data and applications should live, including the value of that data (is it HIPAA-protected patient records or notes from 12 years ago?), how catastrophic would it’s loss would be, and budget.

NFINIT uses our “intelligent outcomes” approach to work consultatively with our clients to build cloud environments to meet their needs. Check out all of our cloud options here.

Kris Assel

Sr. Marketing Director

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