If you’re not already on the cloud, you’re possibly wondering what the advantages are and where to start. The natural progression of IT server technology, especially if you want less IT infrastructure within your own business will be the cloud, and you have a number of choices: public, private or hybrid.
Just concentrating on public and private for now, here we’ve broken down what these actually are, their advantages and disadvantages and how we can help apply this to your organisation.
The most common option, a public cloud, is where cloud resources such as servers and storage are owned and operated by a third party. The 3 big players in providing public clouds are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.
In a public cloud your business will share the same hardware, storage and often individual software applications with other organisations. Rather than owning the IT servers, your business will be a tenant on a public cloud renting the technology as a service (often referred to as Software as a Service SaaS). Each tenant’s data is isolated and remains invisible to other tenants – and which your users can access using a web browser.
The public cloud is frequently used to provide web-based email, online office applications, storage, testing and development environments. Generally, the pros and cons to a public cloud solution include:
- Lower costs – most applications that operate on a public cloud are less expensive to setup. You don’t have to maintain a server, so no space is required to physically have the server in your business, or electricity to run it, but you also pay per month for the number of user licenses you need – without having the large outlay of a perpetual licence.
- No need for server maintenance – As the provider manages any server issues, software updates and disaster recovery back-ups, you don’t need expensive IT staff to manage the daily server operations.
- Scalability – you normally pay monthly for what you use. This allows you to scale up or down without having to undertake major infrastructure projects as the demands of your business change.
- No additional SaaS maintenance fees – software applications run on a public cloud normally include software updates and any maintenance required in the monthly licence costs. This means your business will always be on the latest version of any SaaS applications, giving your business access to the very latest technology without lengthy upgrade projects.
- Performance – with no access to the back end or the ability to touch the SQL (Structured Query Language) to access or manipulate your databases, you may find your services affected by spikes in use across the internet. If you need access to any of these or greater reliability in terms of service, you may need to consider implementing the private cloud.
- Internet Access – if for any reason you can’t get access to the internet you can’t access your public cloud tenant.
- Security – with database limits you may also find that if your server is held in another country, it may be governed by different rules or security when it comes to your data. (Although UK databases are usually held in the UK.)
- Data costs – although often cheaper and far more scalable for most businesses, if your business holds very large amounts of data, moving data in or out could add considerably to the costs.
A private cloud is sometimes referred to as an internal or corporate cloud and consists of computing resources dedicated to one business or organisation. Physically located at your businesses on-site data centre, or hosted by a third party. Its services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware/software are dedicated solely to your company.
Private clouds allow the business to dictate how they want the infrastructure to be configured and give your business full freedom and flexibility. They’re often used by government agencies, financial institutions and other medium to large sized organisation with heavily regulated or business critical operations.
So if you’re seeking full control over your IT environment, here are some of the advantages of a private cloud:
- Greater flexibility – your organisation can customise its cloud environment to meet specific business needs.
- Improved security – resources are not shared with others, so higher levels of control and security are possible.
- High scalability – private clouds still have the scalability of a public cloud.
- Cost – with exclusivity come increased cost
- Underutilisation – with private cloud, the cost of capacity underutilisation is a cost to you, not your provider. Therefore managing and maximising this will be a priority – ensuring all of your resources are used.
- Capacity ceiling – physical hardware limitation with a service provider could mean a capacity ceiling, with only a certain amount of servers or storage.
Depending on your business environment and the levels of security and scalability needed, only you can decide which option is best for your business. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can be setup in either of these two environments depending on your business’s needs.
For help and advice on suitable options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert team.