Public vs Private Cloud - Clear as mud!


Private clouds Sometimes called internal or corporate clouds, generally mean a computing architecture that provides internally hosted services to a closed group of users behind a private local firewall. Private cloud systems address the concern for organizations that want more control over their data than that which is possible by using third-party "public cloud" services. Private cloud systems in combination with Thin Client Computing enables universal remote access from multiple devices (thin clients, laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.)

Public clouds Are "leased" hosted services external to an organization's owned I.T. infrastructure. Public cloud systems can be managed externally by company providing the hosting facilities or by you internal I.T. staff. The key is facilities are not in your "owned & operated" datacenter. As with, private cloud systems, when used in combination with Thin Client Computing, it enables universal remote access from multiple devices (thin clients, laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.)

Hybrid clouds Simply the combination of a public cloud (3rd party hosted) and your internal Private Cloud.

Benefits & Costs

There are many companies hyping the benefits for moving your I.T. Infrastructure to their data center (aka "public cloud"). They make wild claims of cost savings and tout the low monthly fee as an operating expense versus a large outlay for capital expense. This needs to examined closely as those monthly fees can add up quick.

Consider this

  • Even if you go to a public cloud, you still need a security and network infrastructure at your business locations
  • You will need a faster Internet connection because of the increased traffic load
  • You will need a redundant Internet connection because when your primary goes down, no one works. If your servers are local, people can still work.
  • Will users give up laptops? Even if you allow BYOD (bring your own device), you still need to configure these
  • Modern servers easily run for 5 years and are low maintenance.
  • In some cases, the monthly fees can far exceed the cost of managed services for a well designed private cloud systems.

Cloud based MS Office / eMail / File Sharing

This is one area where public cloud services can make economic sense. The main drivers are access from anywhere, automatic backup, centralized management/maintenance, flexible/elastic licensing, and enhanced security. Learn more

L4 Networks Advisor

There is no such thing as one size fits all. For small businesses we often recommend a hybrid cloud solution that matches specific services like email or MS office to the solution that makes the most economic sense. Often time for small businesses, it is cloud based.

For larger businesses with multiple offices, we can often design a private cloud solution that offers enhanced security and redundancy while at the same time being more economical than a cloud/hosted solution. Even so, certain services like eMail or VoIP, can be better placed in a cloud/hosted environment.

VDI/RDP Servers in the Cloud

This is a bit more complicated and it is mainly due to licensing. From a licensing cost perspective, the shared model (What is this?) is less expensive than the true VDI model because of Microsoft’s (MS) absurdly complex and often termed "insane" licensing model for Virtual Desktops. In fact the slow adoption of VDI by small and medium businesses has been largely because of the Microsoft's licensing model. Some of these licensing issues have recently been lessened with the move to VDA licenses by MS.

One issue is that many small businesses still buy shrink wrapped PC systems with MS OEM Windows Operating System licenses built in. If they do not buy the MS “software assurance” licenses (SA) from Microsoft within 90 days, then if they want to hook that machine to the VDI environment, they will need a new VDA license.

For new PC systems, we advise our customers to buy the SA license within the 90- period so that device may legally access the VDI infrastructure. Better yet, don't buy a PC at all and connect to the VDI or Remote Desktop Services environment via a thin client device.

For existing PC system, there are several options.

  • Retire them and replace them with a thin client device
  • Re-purpose them by de-installing Windows and installing an inexpensive thin-client OS

These two options will still require the purchase of a VDA license for each device.

L4 Networks Advisor

At the present, cost wise, Remote Desktop Services is more cost effective for small businesses (under 40 +-) and XenApp/RDS is more cost effective above that. You can read more here.