You’ve probably heard a lot about “the cloud,” if you haven’t migrated part of your infrastructure to it already. But how does it work exactly? When you save something to “the cloud,” where exactly are your files?
Hopefully, we can provide some answers you can use.
Let’s start with the basics
So the cloud basically refers to applications and services that utilize the internet rather than a local network. It’s functionally a collection of remote servers and connections that perform larger functions than they could alone.
Streaming services utilize the cloud, Google Drive uses it, and Amazon is making some great money (and advances in technology) on the side pioneering it with Amazon Web Services.
Most cloud networks utilize the same essential features: Multiple copies of your files stored in different locations, redundant and parallel hardware to minimize downtime, and extra capacity to allow for scalability. All of these make for reliable and flexible infrastructure.
Further reading on cloud storage:
‘Where Does Cloud Storage Really Reside? And Is It Secure?’
Three types of cloud
There are three types of cloud infrastructure:
- Public clouds
- Private clouds
- Hybrid clouds
This type of cloud utilizes outside services to better leverage the main strengths of the cloud. Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, and Google Drive are all good examples. Your files and applications are stored on their servers on their campuses, and therefore require an internet connection to access.
One thing that most businesses are concerned about is the security of the cloud. It turns out that utilizing cloud services tends to be much safer than storing files locally – companies that specialize in offering cloud solutions have the resources to employ security experts whose only job is to maintain the integrity of their network. Additionally, they have the resources to utilize all of the above-mentioned features (hardware redundancy, multiple backups, etc.) that make the cloud as powerful and reliable as it can be.
Since most public cloud services are run by companies that either specialize in offering this solution or have the resources to invest in extensive infrastructure, your files are being handled by advanced and secure networks. The providers prioritize reliability and security, so you won’t have to worry about your files going missing. You have access to your files and applications anywhere you have an internet connection. Additionally, if you are running low on space or need access to further infrastructure, it’s easy to pay for a little bit more and get what you need with little fuss.
Private clouds are set up to utilize your SMB’s private network. These setups tend to have a central server on your premises that stores all of the important information for your business. Your files and applications are stored on that private server. As a result, you might only be able to access them while on your organization’s private network. However, often it isn’t difficult to configure a way to access the cloud via an outside connection, if you were to work remotely, for example.
Related reading: Benefits of using a VPN
This type of network is extremely customizable – since it is for you and your team alone, you can tailor its operation to better suit your needs and practices, including compliance regulations. Additionally, depending on what kind of projects you work on, the private cloud provides a private bubble where you can experiment without affecting other portions of your infrastructure (e.g., testing updates to an application before deploying).
However, the main downside to the private network is that you have to be in charge of maintenance and expansion. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker if the private cloud fits your needs more closely, but it’s definitely something to consider before investing in private infrastructure.
Hybrid clouds are the best of both worlds – the robust infrastructure and unfettered access of the public cloud with the privacy and customization of the private cloud. You choose where to store your files, and sometimes the different networks can communicate and mirror each other so that you have everything on both networks.
Access, security, customization, privacy – it’s all there for you. The hybrid cloud system utilizes both infrastructures, so it has the strengths of both. It really only requires a little forethought for how you’re going to use each.
As mentioned before, you could use the public to mirror your private and function as a backup in case of downtime. Or you can keep your applications on the public cloud while you perform development and testing on the private cloud, updating to the public as the changes become stable.
There are a myriad of possibilities with this setup.
Cloud storage is all about utility – can I access my files when I need them? Are my applications executing where I need them?Your configuration should rely upon the applications you want to be using and how you’ll use them. If you need a little guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts. We can help you see the possibilities of your perfect cloud solution.