Public, private or hybrid – what cloud model should your enterprise invest in?
Article by Infosys associate VP & head of cloud, infrastructure and security services Vikas Tatwani.
Enterprises have been harnessing cloud technologies to drive efficiencies and protect existing revenue streams for years — but we’re now at a point where cloud has the potential to be used to fuel profit growth.
The Infosys Cloud Radar 2021 report — which surveyed 2,500 respondents from enterprises with a minimum turnover of US$500 million — found that when enterprises shift at least 60% of their systems to the cloud, its usage moves from a cost-saving or ‘defensive’ mechanism to one that delivers a competitive edge.
According to our research, Australian and New Zealand companies rank joint first with the U.S. for cloud adoption, having shifted 43% of their IT systems to the platform. And if we continue to push cloud boundaries, new growth opportunities are in touching distance that could boost annual profits in local markets by a further $18 billion.
So, with cloud adoption accelerating, how can enterprises choose a best-fit model? Here are some best practice tips.
Know public from private cloud solutions
Public cloud solutions (e.g., AWS, Google Cloud or Azure) provide scalable and elastic pay-per-use infrastructure that uses leading-edge cloud-native technology and services. These solutions also offer the best low-cost automated security, reducing human intervention and removing cost barriers to boot.
On the other hand, private cloud solutions offer a dedicated hosting platform engineered to address the compliance and capability needs specific to an enterprise, which could include the processing of critical data.
These two offerings are akin to comparing coworking spaces with a leased office agreement. Much like coworking, public solutions offer flexibility, scalability, and the latest features as standard, but could afford lower levels of control over the environment. Private cloud solutions, much like leased offices, allow enterprises to create a setup that’s highly specific to their needs but incurs a higher cost to maintain and update.
Hybrid or multi-cloud setups bring the best of public and private cloud together. However, this setup requires a unified orchestration and workload management layer, alongside robust governance, to reduce complexity and enable secure operations.
Our Cloud Radar report revealed that while private cloud is the most popular offering (and public the least) in these very large organisations, top-performing enterprises showed a growing preference towards hybrid cloud models.
It’s the best of both worlds as private cloud is often favoured by large enterprises who have made significant investments in their legacy IT estate, while public cloud can address fast-changing and emerging needs such as e-commerce, data analytics and data science.
Enterprises in our top two cohorts of cloud performance showed a preference for a hybrid multi-cloud mix. Hybrid multi-cloud deployments can bring together the best features of public and private cloud, but only with the proper orchestration and governance.
Hybrid multi-cloud provides businesses with greater flexibility by moving workloads between cloud solutions as needs and costs fluctuate while complying with regulatory frameworks and keeping sensitive data on-premises.
The four Cs of cloud
To maintain a high-performance cloud system, decision-makers should keep the four Cs in mind:
- Capability: Assess your requirements and the strengths of your cloud providers.
- Compatibility: Study how each cloud platform supports and matches your IT architecture and landscape.
- Compliance: Ask which cloud platforms offer built-in support that match your regulatory requirements.
- Cost: Negotiate and make thoughtful adjustments based on what capacity is bought across multiple clouds.
This simple system can be revisited to maintain and optimise cloud setup as businesses go, enabling organisations to enjoy the benefits of harnessing cloud not just as a defensive play but as a competitive advantage.
This advantage comes in the form of increased speed and new capabilities — including launching new solutions, adding new software functions, expanding processing capacity, fostering collaboration, or applying AI to discover new revenue sources.
A modern cloud approach enables enterprises to continually lay the foundations for future growth; understanding and refining your cloud requirements sits at the forefront of any progressive business strategy.