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Clouds Here and There

The business case for public, private and hybrid models

The business case for public, private and hybrid models
Illustration by Travis Anderson

What’s Appropriate for Cloud

The characteristics of the business workloads that can be self enabled will determine whether they’re appropriate for cloud computing. Ask these key questions when reviewing which workloads are appropriate for cloud delivery:

  • Can they be easily standardized for delivery?
  • Is the use of this service frequent enough, and does it involve enough end users, to make it a viable cloud-computing solution?
  • Does the workload have associated risks that could preclude it from being cloud delivered?
  • Could new, yet-unexplored workloads potentially benefit from a cloud deployment?

Not all workloads are necessarily ready for cloud deployment, and workloads in different organizations will be at various stages of readiness. For example, each workload has its own architectural characteristics—think about how Google is optimized for search or massive reading, Amazon for Web display, and Salesforce for a heavy multitenant environment.

Areas that have great affinity with the cloud model—technically and from a risk/reward perspective—include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Workloads that clients are adopting now include test and development, desktop, collaboration, storage, compute and analytics. All of these are highly standardized, leading to better economics.

Other workloads can’t move to the cloud at this time due to regulations, criticality or security concerns. But new workloads are being enabled to take advantage of the benefits of clouds—massive scalability and self-service, and economies of scale (e.g., medical images, fraud detection and energy management).

A spectrum of deployment options is available for cloud delivery. Perhaps the most common is the public cloud option such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or Google Apps. These cloud deployments let any user with a credit card gain access to the resources.

Conversely, in a private-cloud deployment all resources are owned, managed and controlled by the enterprise. A common emerging model called “shared cloud services” or “member cloud services” requires a membership to access the services, and they can be made available in a shared- or dedicated-resources option. It’s this last model where IBM offers IBM Smart Business Services on the IBM Cloud.


Tom Brandes is a freelance writer for variety of subjects, including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, sustainability and more.



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