How to choose which cloud platform is right for your business

The business world is being increasingly defined by the implementation of cloud solutions. It's important to keep up with technology trends in order to maintain relevance, but IT decision-makers can be excused for feeling slightly overwhelmed by the multitude of options from which to choose.

Public vs. private vs. hybrid... which is best?
The short answer is that there is no "best" platform - some companies will make better use of the public cloud, while others will see more benefits from a private cloud, and another group will identify a hybrid solution as the one that fits its organizational needs. However, these terms can be somewhat ambiguous, and might cause confusion among prospective cloud users.

There are a variety of cloud formats out there - the trick is identifying the right one for your business.
There are a variety of cloud formats out there - the trick is identifying the right one for your business.

To clarify, CIO contributor Jaikumar Vijayan broke down some of the core differences between the formats. He started with the public cloud, establishing that it's generally the most cost-effective solution, since it exists on a shared infrastructure. It can serve as a good way to alleviate certain tedious operations by moving them to a virtual setting, while also offering the ability to run standardized applications like email. For companies with very simplistic needs, going public might be the best option.

Next, Vijayan noted that use of a private cloud can allow organizations to have much more control over their data. He recommended implementing such a platform for companies that have comprehensive ERP systems, as well as those that work in heavily regulated industries and need to meet very specific criteria or mandates.

Hybrid cloud solutions, on the other hand, offer somewhat of a middle ground. Vijayan remarked that the cost-effectiveness of a public cloud can be coupled with some of the increased flexibility that comes from going private. However, he noted that the hybrid cloud can be tricky, since users must hit the perfect balance of hosted workloads, applications and infrastructure. While hybrid solutions can in theory tap into the best of both worlds, they can also take on some of the less amenable attributes, such as the public cloud's security concerns and the private cloud's more expensive nature.

"The best choice of cloud platform will vary by organization."

Essentially, the best choice of cloud platform will vary by organization. Vijayan recommended that IT decision-makers consider a variety of factors that might influence their companies, especially performance, availability and security. The merit of each platform comparative to its counterparts can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Hybrid cloud solutions will be standard once they are perfected
Business Cloud News contributor Jonathan Brandon wrote that the hybrid cloud offers a level of seamlessness in transactions, communication and operations that the other platforms cannot match. However, he lamented, there are very few examples of systems that have been able to combine the virtues of private and public clouds in a fast and dynamic way. Once this flexibility can be achieved more easily, hybrid solutions are likely to become the norm.

Brandon noted that cloud bursting - the ability to mix private and public functions adequately - is becoming more common, but has yet to truly take off among cloud users. The sooner that happens, the more commonplace hybrid solutions will be.