Public cloud provider or vSphere? How SMBs can make the right choice

Many small- and medium-sized businesses are turning to public cloud providers instead of deploying vSphere in-house, and that can be a good thing.

Now that many organizations are starting to understand the differences among public, private and hybrid clouds,

most question which cloud computing model will be the most efficient and cost-effective. In many cases, however, the decision is not about choosing among cloud models but about choosing between a public cloud and VMware vSphere.

There are some very good reasons why small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) should choose a public cloud implementation over an internally managed virtualization environment. In part one of a two-part series, we'll look at the reasons public cloud environment can be a better choice for an SMB.

Free up IT administrators

Migrating applications to a platform managed by a highly specialized infrastructure expert allows IT administrators to concentrate on business applications, instead of having to split their time and expertise between applications and the infrastructure.

Eliminate data center facilities management

SMBs' data centers tend to be located in a space that wasn't initially intended to house a data center. This means they might have to operate in an inefficient environment that makes expansion difficult if the business grows. An on-premises data center also requires the expertise of airflow and electrical engineering staff, whose salaries contribute to the company's overall operating expenses. Public cloud providers are located off-premises in dedicated data centers that can achieve high levels of efficiency and are run by engineers who specialize in data center operations.

More on vSphere and public cloud providers

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What makes a good cloud provider?

Improve security and availability

Small size doesn't mean a business's infrastructure doesn't have stringent security and availability needs. Meeting these needs often is expensive. Achieving a high-availability environment requires redundant server, network, storage and power infrastructures, as well as strict policies to ensure changes don't disrupt system uptime. A public cloud provider offers the required availability, without the business having to consider or manage the underlying infrastructure. Public cloud providers are bigger targets for attackers and, therefore, typically have more resilient infrastructures.

Ensure disaster recovery and backups

Achieving reliable disaster recovery (DR) requires a second data center. It's no small feat to find a second site and build and maintain the recovery infrastructure. Using a public cloud as a DR site means an SMB no longer needs to maintain that separate site or infrastructure. Dealing with backups and off-site tape storage also can be time-consuming for IT admins. With cloud-based backups, there's no need to ship backups off-site via tape. Cloud-based DR also enables quick and easy recovery because the backups are already on disk and can be restored immediately.

Reduce and offload risk

Most major public cloud providers offer service-level agreements, or SLAs, that guarantee at least five nines of uptime. The higher the availability you require, however, the more you're going to pay.

Facilitate infrastructure upgrades

SMBs often delay infrastructure component upgrades to tend to more pressing needs. These upgrades aren't always critical, but they can become a support issue if they're ignored. Many organizations have a hard time funding an unexpected infrastructure need if they rely on a capital expenditure budget. Using a public cloud provider gives companies a more predictable budget.

Check out part two in this two-part series on when to choose VMware virtualization.

This was first published in August 2012

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