Choosing a Cloud Deployment Model

Mariusz Michalowski -
Choosing a Cloud Deployment Model
Illustration: © IoT For All

Organizations considering cloud migration must understand the available deployment models to make the best possible business decision. Various models offer different benefits and drawbacks in areas including cost, governance, security, scalability, management, and flexibility. 

#1 Is Public Cloud For You?

With the public cloud, your cloud services provider owns the infrastructure and makes it accessible for public consumption. As the owner of the hardware and supporting networking infrastructure, the public cloud provider assumes responsibility for the physical security, maintenance, and management of the data center housing the infrastructure. 

Although they share infrastructure among multiple customers, they keep data separate, using as many layers of security controls as necessary to protect it. Customers can pay to have specific services hosted on dedicated or isolated hardware. Even without this additional measure, customers can rely on security standards well beyond what they could achieve. Cloud providers take great pains to ensure physical data centers are highly secure and regulated.

Infrastructure is generally managed via a web browser, but manipulation is also possible with an API, on the command line, or with Infrastructure as Code tools such as Terraform. The primary public clouds are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. 

  • Shifting from the Capex (capital expenditure) to Opex (operating expenditure) financial model minimizes initial capital cost.
  • Public clouds are highly flexible.
  • You can scale up or down with ease.
  • Public clouds are very reliable.
  • Maintenance costs are low.
  • Costs can mount quickly without proper management.
  • Data security may be an issue for strictly regulated businesses.

#2 Do You Need a Private Cloud?

You can think of a private cloud as an environment a single tenant wholly owns and manages. This exclusive tenancy might be necessary to mitigate possible security concerns about the public cloud. A private cloud also makes it easier to fulfill any strict governance requirements, and it’s easier to customize. Also, when it comes to IoT, some businesses prefer a private cloud

When you control the hardware, you can drive enhanced performance. You can either run your cloud on-premises or buy rack space in a data center to host your infrastructure. But it also means you take responsibility for managing the infrastructure, giving you the headache of having to find more staff with more comprehensive skills and spending more money. It is more expensive to run a private cloud and might require a substantial initial outlay to buy the necessary hardware.

  • You have more control.
  • Single tenancy means greater security.
  • Dedicated performance could enhance performance.
  • You enjoy substantial flexibility.
  • Running a private cloud is costly.
  • It also involves a more considerable management overhead. 

#3 What About a Hybrid Cloud?

The hybrid model leverages public and private cloud deployment models to create a single cloud infrastructure designed to increase an organization’s flexibility and deployment options. They might use the private cloud to host applications with rigorous governance and data security requirements while hosting applications that need to be scaled on demand in the public cloud.

Combining public and private clouds gives organizations the benefits of both. However, it does trigger a bigger management headache and raises the challenges involved in setting up a hybrid infrastructure. However, once you have your hybrid setup in place, applications can be moved between infrastructure in either cloud, boosting flexibility and fault tolerance.

Businesses often have a historical presence on-premises, so it makes sense to use the hardware it owns until it has reached the end of its life. Based on the hybrid model, they can begin to shift the burden from existing infrastructure as they migrate to the public cloud.

  • It offers superior scalability to the private cloud.
  • Customers enjoy high levels of control.
  • It provides high fault tolerance.
  • A hybrid cloud can be cost-effective.
  • Setting up is challenging. 
  • The management overhead is significant.

#4 Where Does Multi-Cloud Come in?

Multi-cloud involves deploying to two or more public clouds. As well as combining services from Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud, you could add the private cloud for even greater reliability and flexibility.

It’s not just about improving fault tolerance and flexibility: You may simply prefer a service from one cloud provider over another – maybe you’ve had a better experience with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) than you did with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) or Amazon EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service), for example. 

Whatever your preference, you can distribute your workloads accordingly, giving your development teams access to a wider range of options and potentially improving their workflow. With prices for comparable services varying, you can adjust your workloads to optimize costs.

The multi-cloud model is a popular option for businesses with critical workloads, such as government agencies or financial corporations. Distributing data and infrastructure among multiple cloud providers improves fault tolerance in scenarios where cloud platforms undergo service outages, making multi-cloud a useful plank of many disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

However, multi-cloud does increase the management overhead, as well as the need for upskilling to fully realize its potential benefits. It could also be significantly more expensive than a single-cloud model if it is used to increase fault tolerance. This tradeoff between budget considerations and application requirements needs to be examined carefully before opting for multi-cloud.

Multi-cloud usage is more common among enterprises with mature cloud strategies because businesses generally start with a single public cloud and adopt others only when the business value justifies doing so.

In summary, multi-cloud works because it is extremely reliable and flexible, but multi-cloud users seeking to get the most from multi-cloud must contend with the potential for increased management complexity and upskilling requirements. 

#5 And Community Cloud?

A community cloud involves sharing infrastructure among several organizations from a particular group that has common computing needs. It is not a widely used cloud deployment model, but applications include the education sector, where a community cloud could enable a group of researchers to share academic content while engaging in joint research.

These kinds of shared initiatives reduce costs, but they also reduce security and are rarely applicable to small or medium businesses. 

Making a Decision

The first thing every organization should do before it embarks on its cloud journey is to evaluate its business needs and how they align with the various cloud deployment models available. Getting this right will help your organization accelerate growth, achieve its business goals, and gain a competitive edge.

Given that most businesses have at least some existing infrastructure presence on-premises, it may make sense to move this into a private cloud and adopt the hybrid model before transitioning to the public cloud or multi-cloud model as your cloud strategy matures. On the other hand, a private cloud may be required to meet data security or data sovereignty requirements.

Mariusz Michalowski - Community Manager, Spacelift

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.