Cloud computing helps businesses to be more efficient and save on software and hardware that are important for different operations. The definition of cloud computing varies depending on your source but what is generally agreed is that it involves access of software or hardware that are in the “cloud” i.e. use of software or hardware remotely. If your company is using specialized applications where you did not have to set up server or buy hardware or software to run them, then you are probably using a cloud application.
Companies can use cloud computing to increase their IT functionality or capacity without having to add software, personnel, invest in additional training or set up new infrastructure.
Public clouds are the most common way of deploying cloud computing. The cloud resources (like servers and storage) are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and delivered over the Internet. Microsoft Azure or the Google Cloud are examples of a public cloud. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. In a public cloud, you share the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other organizations or cloud “tenants.” You access services and manage your account using a web browser. Public cloud deployments are frequently used to provide web-based email, online office applications, storage, and testing and development environments.
A private cloud consists of computing resources used exclusively by one business or organization. The private cloud can be physically located at your organization’s on-site datacenter, or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider. But in a private cloud, the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to your organization. In this way, a private cloud can make it easier for an organization to customize its resources to meet specific IT requirements. Private clouds are often used by government agencies, financial institutions, any other mid- to large-size organizations with business-critical operations seeking enhanced control over their environment.
Hybrid clouds combine on-premises infrastructure, or private clouds, with public clouds so organizations can reap the advantages of both. In a hybrid cloud, data and applications can move between private and public clouds for greater flexibility and more deployment options. For instance, you can use the public cloud for high-volume, lower-security needs such as web-based email, and the private cloud (or other on-premises infrastructure) for sensitive, business-critical operations like financial reporting. In a hybrid cloud, “cloud bursting” is also an option. This is when an application or resource runs in the private cloud until there is a spike in demand (such as seasonal event like online shopping or tax filing), at which point the organization can “burst through” to the public cloud to tap into additional computing resources.
Community clouds are a recent variation on the private cloud model that provide a complete cloud solution for specific business communities. Businesses share infrastructure provided by the Cloud Service Provider for software and development tools that are designed to meet community needs. In addition, each business has its own private cloud space that is built to meet the security, privacy and compliance needs that are common in the community.
Community clouds are an attractive option for companies in the health, financial or legal spheres that are subject to strict regulatory compliance. They are also well-suited to managing joint projects that benefit from sharing community-specific software applications or development platforms.