When a business considers integrating cloud computing into their IT strategy, they most commonly categorize them into two separate types, public cloud applications and internal private cloud computing environments. There is, however, a third middle ground, known as managed cloud computing, which should be in the discussion as well. This strategy is still evolving which is why it is often overlooked as a potential long-term solution for businesses of all sizes.
What is Managed Cloud Computing?
Managed cloud computing falls between public cloud hosting and an internal private cloud computing environment. Traditionally, the driving consideration in the public cloud environment is minimizing costs. Unfortunately, low costs are valued over enhanced security and availability. As a result, businesses gain commodity level pricing where cloud computing resources are sold for pennies per hour. On the other hand, the private cloud is a 100% internal solution larger businesses can take advantage of to maintain control over their own infrastructure while gaining the benefits of operating in a cloud environment.
Like the public cloud, a managed cloud can still be purchased one virtual server at a time. The difference is the overarching design focuses on security and high availability rather than cost considerations. Managed cloud computing environments are sold on a monthly or annual basis rather than a per hour basis.
Managed Cloud Computing is Built around High Availability
A driving force behind businesses considering managed cloud computing is high availability. The managed cloud is designed around a private cloud architecture reliant on built-in redundancies. This is particularly beneficial for businesses to place a high emphasis on network and data security.
Provides the Benefit of Automatic Failover and Resource Balancing
Another benefit of managed cloud computing environments is failover and resource balancing between hardware hosts is automatically handled. This takes place at the virtualization level which allows cloud servers to take advantage of the high availability infrastructure in the event of a host failure.
Managed Cloud Computing Overcomes the Security Concerns of Using the Public Cloud
Since managed cloud computing is not driven primarily by price, additional layers of protection are added to the environment to eliminate the security concerns often associated with using the public cloud. For example, firewalls, IDS/IPS, and a dedicated VLAN can easily be added to any set of managed cloud servers. This provides businesses with the same level of security found on private cloud networks.
Provides the Opportunity to Create a Hybrid Network of Physical and Virtual Servers
Businesses also benefit from allowing virtual servers and physical servers to access the hardware resources on a dedicated network of cloud servers. By creating a hybrid of physical and virtual servers on the same system, businesses gain increased protection and the ability to maximize the use of their internal computing resources.
Managed Cloud Computing Provides a Long-Term, Cost-Effective Solution
The final benefit of this solution is long-term cost-effectiveness. In the past, businesses have overlooked the managed cloud because servers cannot be purchased by the hour like public cloud servers can. While they must be purchased on a monthly basis, managed clouds are still as cost effective as public clouds because they provide businesses with an environment to operate applications which are run on a continual or long-term basis.
While managed cloud computing is not a solution which will meet the needs of every business, it is an option which should always be considered when deciding how to integrate the cloud into an IT environment.
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