Tech watch: all aboard the public Cloud

Patrick Budmar

Numerous benefits
The public Cloud has so far enjoyed a strong uptake by businesses. Citrix A/NZ Cloud platform group senior manager, David Manu, attributes the popularity to the "unique set of business benefits" it provides. "For public Cloud, this means the ability to rapidly deploy, and increased scalability and flexibility, making it the ideal choice for businesses looking to dynamically react to changing market conditions," he said.

Manu is also seeing the "fail-fast" culture of public Cloud driving innovation among businesses. He said it is due to the lower costs and risk involved. "For example, organisations can use public Cloud to rapidly develop and test business applications, and then close the environment once complete, rather than building a dedicated infrastructure in private Clouds," he said.

When it comes to the most noticeable benefit of public over private Cloud, Netgear product marketing senior manager, Matt Pahnke, narrows it down to costs. "It is always going to be less expensive to rent somebody else's infrastructure than buy and build your own," he said. Typically a single payment will cover the rent of the space, as well as professional customer service throughout the entire service level agreement (SLA).

Another benefit is somebody else will be responsible for managing the IT so a dedicated IT team isn't needed. This, Pahnke said is "very appealing" to smaller businesses. "There is also the added bonus of having piece of mind that professionals are managing your data," he said. "If a problem was to occur, the necessary resources are available to address the issue."

Time to market is a key benefit Concur Australia SMB managing director, Matthew Goss, attributes to the public Cloud. "When a company works with a vendor who has a large and diverse ecosystem of technology partners, they are able to implement best-of-breed solutions that have the capabilities to solve a range of business needs in minimal time," he said.

As an example, Goss points to how CRM has been integrated with travel and expense management, which in turn integrates with a HR system.

The benefit over using point solutions is insights into the cost of sales, potential risk management and potentially much more. While Goss said a private Cloud version of the same solution is possible, it would consist of "reinventing a well-oiled wheel." "One without the in-built scalability that is present in the public Cloud version," he said.

Challenges remain
The public Cloud may stand out for its benefits, but it also comes with some challenges that stop it from becoming the be all and end all solution for certain businesses. Western Digital business storage solutions product marketing director, Jim Gregg, points to how public Cloud services are accessed via a monthly subscription basis depending on the amount of storage required. "As a business grows and their storage needs increase, these fees can become prohibitively expensive," he said. Gregg said private Cloud solutions that come with a onetime capital expense can instead be less expense than public Cloud subscription fees over time. Private Cloud infrastructure also benefits from being installed in a secure location that is not accessible by the public. "This added security gives businesses peace of mind, and is especially important for industries that are concerned about data protection such as healthcare and financial services," he said. CA Technologies A/NZ partners senior director, Carl Terrantroy, said concerns around privacy of data with public Cloud continue to linger. At the same time, he said these fears are "largely unfounded," as public Clouds have robust systems and processes in place. "It's also worth considering that public Clouds are not necessarily cheaper, which can be a common misconception," Terrantroy said.

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