We all just enjoyed Labor Day yesterday. This holiday heralds a gradual slowdown for a great American summer tradition very close to my heart – the BBQ. For the longest time, BBQ purists have argued over the merits of coal-fired and gas-fired grills, smokers and more currently infra-red grilling.

While each offers something unique, not all of us can have all types in our backyards. The investment in initial cost, floor-space, maintenance and upkeep can be high to be able to justify the purchase.

When talking this over with my kids, you can imagine my pleasure and surprise when our 10 year old found the solution for me – in the form of a Hybrid Grill (Google — what did we ever do before you!!). Now you know my wish list for next Father’s Day –– a Hybrid Grill! This cool piece of work can do coal, propane/natural gas and has infra-red heaters to keep the meat warm.

So, now that I have your attention, and haven’t totally made you long for a juicy bit of Texas BBQ, let’s talk about how this translates to Cloud Computing.

The NIST definition of Cloud Computing talks about 4 Deployment Models for the Cloud: Community, Private, Public and Hybrid Clouds. Let’s talk today about Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud Models and the value propositions of each.

First, here’s a high-level summary of what Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud deployments models may look like as we see in the figure above.

  • An elementary way to visualize a Public Cloud is everything related to the Cloud is “outside the firewall”. This would be a group of users in an organization accessing computing services outside the company’s firewall. In the above graphic, they are accessing the three delivery models of Cloud (Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) outside the network boundaries of the business by going to a Public Cloud.
  • In the case of a Private Cloud, PaaS and IaaS are being utilized inside the network boundary of the business.
  • A Hybrid Cloud can have many meanings: In a nutshell, one may have some services being presented from inside the firewall, and some from outside.
  • A Virtual Public Cloud is a special case where a network boundary using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is created inside a  Public Cloud, so it appears and functions like a Private Cloud.

As you can see, a Public Cloud is a great way to totally move your expenses to an opex model vs. capex. You can buy capacity as you grow your business. You do not need to build the capacity for the maximum usage, that may occur three years from the day you go-live!  Just add it as you grow.

The chances are very high, by the time you meet the capacity, Moore’s Law and advances in technology would give you fresh and much better choices for scale and volume from a Public Cloud Provider.  Why lock yourself into hardware that is 3+ years old  when you can have continually updated and current resources?

The Private Cloud is all about Control. This is ideal for businesses with a lot of internal capacity who already have software and hardware procured. In  some cases the business might have unique requirements that cannot be easily met via a Public Cloud. You do not have to worry much about security – everything is “inside” the network boundary/protected by a firewall. An interesting viewpoint often over-looked is that in a Private Cloud, you do NOT need to be connected to the Internet. This is something we take for granted.

The Hybrid Cloud, as the name suggests, can leverage mixed services to combine what works best. BBQ analogies aside, it means having some computing assets in a non-cloud solution, some in a Public Cloud, some in a Private Cloud, or some combination in-between. My colleague, Don Parente, has a good viewpoint on Hybrid Clouds in his recent post.

We would love to hear your viewpoint:
-What do you like the most about each Cloud Model (Public, Private, Hybrid) ?
-Which Cloud Model are you currently using ?
-What are some of the challenges being faced in your journey ?