Cloud computing continues to steamroll ahead as more organizations adopt the platform, but to be clear, what we're really seeing is an increase in how organizations are utilizing the Internet. Marketing terms aside, there are more resources out there, better underlying systems for support and a greater need to distribute data.
When cloud computing first emerged, we had some distinct models to work with. Hybrid became the more popular option among enterprises. But the challenge was connecting a public and private instance together to form a robust and secure cloud environment. Now, technology has come far enough where creating that link is much easier. There are direct partnerships between private cloud companies and public cloud providers to create more secure and robust connections. This unification of technologies through APIs, connectors, and virtualization has created more markets and services around cloud delivery methodologies.
There is clear growth in the amount of traffic being pushed through the modern data center. Why? The user, the business, and most of all the technology have all evolved. The current generation revolves around a new “on-demand” lifestyle where workloads and information must be available anytime, anywhere and on any device. Mobility has become the new normal, and cloud computing is the engine to deliver all of this next-generation content.
The community cloud
In growing up cloud, we’ve seen three major models arise:
- Public Cloud.
- Hybrid Cloud.
- Private Cloud.
Got those three? Good. Because now there is a fourth option gaining some traction in the IT world. Several organizations have begun looking and working with community cloud platforms. Think of it as a public cloud environment, but with set levels of security, privacy, and even regulatory compliance of a private cloud.
A community cloud is a multi-tenant platform which allows several companies work on the same platform, given that they have similar needs and concerns.
- One example of using a community cloud would be to test-drive some high-end security products or even test out some features of a public cloud environment. This is great for organizations that are driven by compliance and regulatory measures. Government, healthcare, and some regulated private industries are leveraging the added security features within a community cloud environment. Instead of just provisioning space in a public cloud, organizations can test and work on a cloud platform which is secure, “dedicated,” and even compliant with certain regulations. The really interesting part is that with a community cloud, the presence can be either onsite or offsite.
- Or, as another example, several organizations may require a specific application that resides on one set of cloud servers. Instead of giving each organization their own server in the cloud for this app, the hosting company allows multiple customers connect into their environment and logically segment their sessions. The customer, however, is still using the same pieces of hardware as other folks are. However, everyone is hitting these servers with the same purpose -- to access that one application -- which is what makes it a community cloud.
The reality here is that as technology and cloud-based tools expand, there will be more uses for some type of cloud-hosted architecture. Several large cloud providers have already created some type of community cloud offering. There are small and big benefits to working with a certain type of cloud model. The bottom line is that the diversity in cloud computing offerings allows organizations and engineers to find pieces of the cloud that can help enable their business and practice.