Not a day goes by these days without a news article or press release talking about email in the cloud. It’s pretty well understood that email is one of the first applications you should think about when moving to the cloud. But should you go with Dedicated (single-tenant) cloud or a public (multi-tenant) cloud implementation? First, let’s examine both approaches.

Dedicated cloud

In this solution approach, the service provider builds an application environment in its data center dedicated to a specific customer. It may make use of multi-tenant infrastructure components (such as compute, storage, networking, load balancers, and switches), but the Microsoft Exchange email application is delivered in a dedicated environment.

The advantages of this approach vs. multi-tenant approach are:

    • Flexibility and customizability
    • Enhanced functionality via best-of-breed, third-party applications
    • Integration with on-premises environment
    • Higher security
    • Ability to access the service over a private network
    • Typically high-touch implementation and support
Public cloud

This is the more commonly understood approach. In this model, the service provider provides a multi-tenant, shared service from its data centers, that’s accessed over public Internet circuits.
The advantages of this approach are:

    • Cost-effective
    • Utility based model with ability to flex up and down based on a per user pricing
    • Simplified pricing, packaging, and contracting
    • Faster service provisioning
So, which approach is right for you?

The answer is, “It depends.” Consider the following questions when evaluating the dedicated vs. public cloud option:

    1. Does your business have a mandate for dedicated hosting due to corporate policies, regulations (e.g., HIPAA, PCI), or compliance needs due to data security and segregation?
    2. Are there any requirements for advanced archiving with custom policies, compliance, and e-discovery?
    3. Is there a requirement for a custom support model (e.g., U.S. resources only)?
    4. Is there a need for custom geographic deployment, with specific data center locations/regions, with design to incorporate a specific user mix in various regions?
    5. Is there a need to implement unified messaging?
    6. Are there any requirements for integration with on-premises applications, such as PBX, FAX server, business apps, tight Active Directory integration, etc.?
    7. Are there specific needs for hosting third party applications (e.g., for encryption, data loss prevention, or compliance)?

If you answered yes to one or more questions, then dedicated cloud is probably the right solution for you. If these factors don’t apply to your business, then the benefits of public cloud may be more fitting.

What approach to email in the cloud is right for your business—dedicated or public? What benefits make that approach the best fit for your needs?