Managed application hosting and the cloud

Managed application hosting is beneficial for organisations that want to offload the operational aspects of hosting, allowing them to concentrate on developing and improving their applications. It can reduce the burden of infrastructure management, enhance scalability and provide a more reliable and secure environment for running applications.

A robust cloud strategy is the only way to unlock the full potential of your applications. Cloud computing transforms IT infrastructure into a flexible, scalable and efficient service, letting you access and customise resources and applications over the internet, from anywhere.

What cloud services should you consider?

One cloud solution doesn’t fit all. Nobody buys space in the cloud for the sake of it: it’s always to do something useful, be that improving efficiencies, speed or to enhance security. Generally, it’s to run applications or using it to for data storage, produced by an application.

The main three types of cloud computing are public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud.

Public cloud

A public cloud model connects over the internet to a cloud that’s maintained by a cloud provider and used by other companies. Providers typically make services accessible from just about any device, including smartphones and desktops, and let you scale resource up and down as needed. All hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure is owned, managed and operated by a third-party cloud service provider.

A public cloud model connects over the internet to a cloud that’s maintained by a cloud provider and used by other companies

There are many public cloud service providers to choose from, including the market leaders, Amazon (AWS and WordDocs), Microsoft (Azure and Office365) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Here are the three most common types of public cloud:

SaaS – a SaaS public cloud (Software as a Service) is a cloud-based software delivery model that focuses on the needs of the end user. The provider offers their software solution online through a subscription-based service. This cloud model operates on remote servers and is maintained by the provider. Users can access the software through web browsers and mobile devices. SaaS can come in a variety of solutions such as customer management (CRM systems), collaboration tools and task management.

PaaS – Platform as a Service public cloud (PaaS) is a service that offers an environment and platform for developing, launching and managing applications online. With a PaaS public cloud, the provider is responsible for managing the underlying infrastructure, including storage, servers, networking and operating systems, while customers focus on running their applications.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud computing service that allows users to access virtual machines (VMs) that help customers build an infrastructure for PaaS servers, additional storage and networking. It allows users to build, manage and control their very own IT environment. The main benefit of IaaS is the ability to run different applications and operating systems on a public cloud via the internet too, so some public cloud service providers may also offer additional features like firewalls.

Advantages of public cloud

  • Highly scalable – auto-scaling features automatically adjust resources to handle changes in traffic and workload. Automatically adjusting resources based on demand ensures optimal performance during peak times and cost savings during periods of lower demand.
  • Reliability – a vast network of servers ensures against failure and downtime. In general, public clouds provide more uptime than traditional data centres or private clouds that organisations host in their own data centre.
  • Performance – if you need high-performance computing (HPC) resources for some of your workloads, the public cloud makes it easy to access HPC capabilities.

Disadvantages of public cloud

  • Security – as a public cloud is a shared infrastructure and space, many different organisations may be using the same physical server or storage appliance. Because users are giving up control over the physical hardware that runs their applications and stores their data, it’s more difficult for them to know if their information is adequately protected.
    • It is important to note that, out of the box, most public cloud providers do not back up your data: that is your responsibility. Securus can manage all of your data back up at a competitive monthly rate per user.
  • Limited control – public clouds have their own infrastructure, which is great for users who don’t have to worry about building their own, but there may come a time when you need to have our own infrastructure so you can tailor it to your business requirements.
  • Cost – public clouds are cheaper to start up with compared to private clouds, however the more resources you consume, the more you’ll have to scale up. Some public cloud providers also operate on a pay-as-you-use model, so if your business experiences a busy period, your monthly costs could rise significantly.

Private cloud

In a private cloud environment, a single organisation controls and maintains the underlying infrastructure to deliver the IT resources and applications. It can be physically located at your organisation’s on-site data centre or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider. The services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to your organisation.

In a private cloud environment, a single organisation controls and maintains the underlying infrastructure to deliver the IT resources and applications

A private cloud can therefore make it easier for an organisation to customise its resources to meet specific IT requirements. Private clouds are often used by organisations with business-critical operations, seeking enhanced control over their environment, such as banks or retail companies, due to the private nature of the data they process and store. 

You can choose to take full control of an on-premise private cloud or engage a cloud storage provider, like Securus, to build a dedicated private cloud that you can access with a private connection. Our fully-managed on-net private cloud platform increases performance, enhances security and reduces latency. We go the extra mile: our platform is fully geo-diverse, and complete backup of both user data and virtual servers come as standard.

Advantages of private cloud

  • Increased security – private clouds are used by a business alone, meaning the administrator can grant and revoke permissions whenever they need to. Plus, the resources allocated to a private cloud aren’t shared with other businesses and are kept behind a firewall, so the risk of a security breach is fairly low.
  • Full control – resources are not shared with other organisations, so higher levels of control and privacy are achieved. You have full root access to control resource allocation, infrastructure, network settings, apps and software installation.
  • Predictable costs – since you purchase your own hardware and software, you know exactly how much your cloud services will cost, so you don’t have to worry about increasing fees related to greater usage of services.
  • Compliance – with a private cloud, organisations can make sure that all of their data storage complies with any relevant regulations.

Disadvantages of private cloud

  • Harder to scale – if an application resides in a private cloud, sudden spikes in demand may overload the capacity. Availability will be determined by the quality of your infrastructure management and business continuity strategy.
  • Startup cost – the initial startup cost for a private cloud is fairly high because organisations must purchase and manage their own infrastructure, so they don’t have many of the cost benefits associated with the public cloud. However, the virtualised nature of the resources may reduce the need for overprovisioning.
  • Maintenance – a private cloud can free up an IT team to work on other projects but the ongoing maintenance required can be time-consuming, such as managing provisioning, deploying, monitoring, maintaining and securing their own hardware. In addition, they need the software necessary to manage, monitor and secure the cloud environment.

Hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud combines a public cloud with a private cloud, enabling data and apps to move between the two environments. By combining the elements of private and public clouds, organisations have far more choice. For instance, highly regulated data subject to strict archiving and replication requirements is usually more suited to a private cloud environment, whereas less sensitive data (such as email) can be stored in the public cloud. By using different cloud stacks for different tasks, such as Google Cloud Platform for internal apps and Amazon Web Services (AWS) for customer-facing apps, you have greater flexibility, more deployment options, security, compliance and get more value from your existing infrastructure.

Hybrid cloud combines a public cloud with a private cloud

Many organisations choose a hybrid cloud approach due to business imperatives such as meeting regulatory and data sovereignty requirements, taking full advantage of on-premises technology investment, or addressing low latency issues.

The hybrid cloud is evolving to include edge workloads as well. Edge computing brings the computing power of the cloud to IoT devices, closer to where the data resides. By moving workloads to the edge, devices spend less time communicating with the cloud, reducing latency, and they are even able to operate reliably in extended offline periods.

Advantages of hybrid cloud

  • Control—you can maintain a private infrastructure for sensitive assets or workloads that require low latency. You can decide which servers you want hosted in the cloud and which you want hosted internally. Some business processes are easy to migrate to the cloud, such as chat and videoconferencing software, whereas other aspects that handle sensitive data may benefit from a slower migration path.
  • Flexibility – an organisation can exercise control over workloads with sensitive data by storing them in a private cloud. Other workloads, such as those tied to mobile devices and applications, are often better suited for public cloud deployment. By migrating resource-intensive tasks, such as data processing and storage, to the public cloud, mobile apps can run more efficiently on devices with limited processing power and memory.
  • Security – the migration of resources and workloads across a hybrid cloud architecture is orchestrated by containers or encrypted application programming interfaces (APIs) that transfer data between cloud computing services or cloud services and on-premises applications. This centralised management system makes implementing security measures like encryption, automation, access control and endpoint data security easier.
  • Scalability – when computing and processing demand fluctuates, hybrid cloud computing gives businesses the ability to seamlessly scale up their on-premises infrastructure to the public cloud to handle any overflow, without giving third-party data centres access to the entirety of their data.
  • Agility – by significantly boosting the delivery speed of IT resources, a hybrid cloud architecture helps businesses stay agile. For instance, hybrid cloud environments can deliver cloud storage capabilities in just minutes instead of the months it might take to build and install the additional physical hardware needed for data storage in a traditional IT environment.
  • Cost-effectiveness—with the ability to scale to the public cloud, hybrid cloud’s pay-as-you-go pricing model helps you avoid unnecessary spending and balance overall costs and revenue. You can optimise your spending allocation across public and private clouds for the most cost-effective solution. A hybrid multi-cloud environment with one or more public clouds combined with private cloud services means no dependency on a single cloud provider and no cloud vendor lock-in, creating more cost-saving opportunities.

Challenges faced with hybrid cloud, and how Securus can help

The initial implementation of hybrid cloud architecture can be daunting from a startup cost and design perspective. As organisations continue migrating their applications and workloads to a hybrid multi-cloud environment, integration and management become more complex.

Before embarking on a hybrid cloud journey, organisations must thoroughly evaluate their business needs and work with a supplier like Securus who can help translate those needs into the best hybrid cloud implementation approach.

We are ideally placed to recommend without bias to any specific cloud environment. We don’t want to be involved in managing a client’s applications, but we want them to implement a platform that gets the best out of their IT infrastructure and applications. AWS will always want to sell you AWS solutions, as will Microsoft and Google.

When a hybrid model is required, we add incredible value. The Securus private cloud platform (our own server farm) integrates seamlessly with internet-based cloud computing services to create a resilient hybrid model. This model offers full backup and restore ability with outstanding SLAs. Both private and public cloud user data, email and virtual servers are taken care of.

Conclusion

Whilst each cloud deployment model has its own unique pros and cons, organisations nowadays prefer a hybrid cloud environment. A 2022 IBM report, ‘Mastering Hybrid Cloud’, indicated that a hybrid cloud approach yields 2.5x more value than a single public cloud alone. Hybrid cloud architecture delivers the flexibility, scalability and security businesses need to innovate and remain agile.

By using a provider like Securus for your cloud strategy, you get the best cloud architecture for your specific requirements, not a solution that is right for the salesman.

Please get in touch on 03451 283457 to discuss your cloud computing requirements further. We can offer a FREE consultation with one of our technology experts to discuss your precise business needs.

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