Everywhere you turn these days the cloud is being mentioned, exhibited and woven through our daily lives. But who really knows what the cloud is specifically? Let's try to clear it up with a basic two definition explanation.
The public cloud is any cloud operated by a company for use by mass numbers of people. We've all used email programs for years, bought music, and watched as cloud offerings expand. We've all also read about the massive buildings constructed by Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and others to store the huge computers needed to run and store these programs. Eastern Oregon and Washington are favorite sites for these installations due to the low-cost hydroelectric power coupled with the large tax breaks granted by the state and local governments.
A private cloud, on the other hand, is on that is built specifically for one company and is built for a number of clients but is not open to the public in any way. Major corporations build clouds, a collection of supercomputers, and let their employees access them with thin clients (access devices with no moving parts), PC, laptops, tablets, ever smartphones.
So what are the advantages of a private cloud? Well if you build one for your company you can position yourself to never buy another PC. Since the thin clients last eight to ten years and cost less than a PC the economics are brilliant. But it requires a high level of expertise in an I.T. department and one must study the cost-benefit figures carefully.
But let's say the numbers show higher costs than a traditional network. Then what? Well, then you have to put the two networks side by side and compare the feature and benefit lists. It's safe to say that a cloud network can be made more secure, one can control web surfing so there might be an increase in productivity and job focus. And backups on a private cloud network can be set up as automatic and can include in-cloud backups, offsite backups, and backups to internet-based storage sites.
But let's say your company's not that big and the numbers just aren't going to work, no matter how you look at it. Now's the time to find a company that's built a private cloud and is essentially leasing space on it. They can virtualize your server on their cloud and then you can access it from anywhere, anytime with any web-enabled device.
The key here is to analyze your needs and figure out which approach delivers the best network at the lowest cost. But watch out who you talk to about the cloud! Oftentimes I.T. people will be fearful of the cloud as it lowers the amount of labor to almost nil inside your office. Make sure you consult with someone not dependent on your hardware matrix for their livelihood.