When talking about the difference between cloud storage types, the conversation can become overwhelming and murky very easily. At the root, though, cloud options are fairly simple.  In this article, we discuss cloud services using the analogy of home ownership and homeowner associations (HOA), citing four key areas: access, control, decision-making, and cost.

Public Cloud – Renting an Apartment

Let’s start by imagining the public cloud as a large apartment complex. 

From an access perspective, there are several literal and figurative barriers to entry when someone lives in an apartment. Access is ultimately bound to community guidelines set by the complex owners and management companies. While cost-effective with no HOA fees, the trade-off is that someone is renting a space and must therefore follow the owner’s “rules.”

In terms of control, a renter is able to maintain control only of their space and even that is limited by what the owners will allow in terms of number of occupants, pets, parking, paint color and other modifications. Renters have control over themselves and, to some degree, who they allow into their space, but that is where it ends.

Public cloud is much the same in that individual companies are sharing a space with others and are bound to the guidelines and constraints set forth by the space owners. While each has control over who is allowed in their designated spot, rules of the community and surrounding area (much like that of an apartment complex) are determined by the building management.

There’s a little known “gotcha” in public cloud for egress and transactions that’s like charging a fee to apartment residents every time they come and go.

Community Cloud – Upgrading To A Condo

Moving in the direction of having a bit more flexibility and control, we’ll go next to community cloud, which can be thought of as owning a condo in a nicer building with an HOA. In this scenario, homeowners have a bit more control and authority over their environment: they can make alterations to their space, for instance, and perhaps own more pets. Most importantly, they are integral in establishing rules and bylaws for the community.

The condo’s HOA, comprised of residents and operated by a management company, determines the way in which that community operates. So while condo owners have tremendous freedom and flexibility in what happens within their four walls, they must abide by some community HOA regulations designed for the benefit and safety of the community.

Community cloud is similar in that businesses set the protocols and establish rules and procedures for their own space. The cloud provider, like the HOA, makes sure that residents have a safe haven by providing basic structure, security, and access to the community. As one can imagine, the cost is a bit higher than that of public cloud options, but for some, this best-of-both worlds approach is the ideal fit for their needs.

Private Cloud – Your Custom Dream Home

The ultimate in control and customization comes with private cloud, much like owning a home in an exclusive, gated community. With a home like this, you have exclusive control over your space – you can do what you want (as long as you’re abiding by local, state and federal laws!)

Owners decide who has access to the community and who can visit and enter their home, how those individuals gain access, how the home operates and looks, and more. In exchange for a fee, the HOA provides infrastructure, maintenance, and a very secure, managed perimeter.

Private cloud works the same. The space is yours and yours alone. In essence, you’re the only resident of a gated community. Your private cloud host provides basic infrastructure, maintenance to the degree that you wish, and a secure environment for your highest value data and critical applications.

Similar to home ownership, companies must consider all factors when determining where their data and applications should live, including the value of that data (is it HIPAA-protected patient records or notes from 12 years ago?), how catastrophic would its loss be, and budget.

LightEdge works consultatively with our clients to build cloud environments to meet their business needs. Go here to learn more about LightEdge’s secure and compliant cloud and hosting solutions.