Cloud 101: Understanding the Different Types of Cloud Hosting

With all the cloud hosting options available to organisations today, how can you establish which is right for you? It helps to start with knowing what your options actually are. This blog offers a 101 primer on understanding the different types of cloud hosting.

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is moving to the cloud. Last year, Gartner predicted that end-user spending on public cloud services was expected to reach nearly $600 in 2023 – a significant increase from the $410.9 billion that was spent in 2021. Organisations are hosting an increasing percentage of their infrastructures in the cloud – a Statista survey in 2021 reported that 33% of respondents were running more than 50% of their workloads in the cloud, with that percentage expected to increase moving forward.

Where is your organisation on its cloud journey? Are you already cloud native? Have you taken your first steps into the cloud with something like Microsoft 365? Or are you hesitant to move forward, unsure of where to start?

If the latter describes you and your organisation, then this could be a great blog for you. We’ll explain the difference between cloud and on-premises hosting, and provide an overview of the main cloud hosting options so you can start to think about what’s most appropriate for you.

On-Premises versus Cloud

It’s fair to say that ‘cloud’ can be seen as a pretty nebulous term – meaning a great many things to a great many people. For the sake of clarity, here’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about cloud versus on-premises:

  • On-premises. Hosted locally on hardware that is dedicated to your business.
  • Cloud. Hosted in data centres on a cloud provider’s hardware that is often shared between multiple businesses.

Basically, that onsite server you have that hosts confidential client data? That’s on-premises. Whereas your Microsoft 365 account – or in your personal life, something like Gmail – is cloud.

Make sense? Good, because now we’re going to move onto the different types of cloud hosting.

Cloud Hosting Options

When people talk about cloud hosting they typically refer to four options: public, private, hybrid, and multi. Microsoft has published a useful blog that provides an overview of public, private, and hybrid cloud deployment options. Here’s what they have to say:

  • Public. According to Microsoft, “Public clouds are the most common type of cloud computing deployment. The cloud resources (like servers and storage) are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and delivered over the internet. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure are owned and managed by the cloud provider. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud.”
  • Private. Microsoft again: “A private cloud consists of cloud computing resources used exclusively by one business or organisation. The private cloud can be physically located at your organisation’s on-site datacentre, or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider.”
  • Hybrid. And once more from Microsoft: “A hybrid cloud is a type of cloud computing that combines on-premises infrastructure—or a private cloud—with a public cloud. Hybrid clouds allow data and apps to move between the two environments.”
  • Multi. Multi-cloud often gets confused with hybrid cloud, but it is in fact quite different. Where hybrid cloud combines private/on-premises and public cloud hosting, multi-cloud combines public cloud hosting from different public cloud providers.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

There’s no hard and fast rule around what cloud hosting option is best for you and your organisation. What works for one organisation may not work for another, which is why understanding the cloud hosting options available and weighing up the advantages of each is an essential step on your cloud journey.

We’ve created a handy infographic that lists the relative benefits of on-premises and cloud hosting, which you can download here. And if you’re ready to speak to one of our experts, it’s really easy to setup a call. Just fill out this simple form and we’ll get back to you to discuss your organisation’s cloud priorities – and how we can help you achieve them.

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