The cloud has already entered the mainstream, but that doesn't mean that there is just one type of cloud. In fact, there are 3 of them: public, private, and hybrid.
The public cloud lets different companies share access to applications and storage space. These assets are stored in a service provider's data centre, and are accessible via the Internet.
Typically, the service provider will use virtualisation, technology that creates multiple instances of applications or operating systems on a single physical device, to store multiple clients' data on the same server. This allows the service provider to over-sell resources as most customer's don't use all the resources they are allocated.
An example is Office365 where each user is allocated 1TB of OneDrive Storage space as Microsoft believes not everyone will use it.
The private cloud, as the name suggests, isolates a company's assets to a single computing environment, so that it doesn't have to share its resources with anyone else.
Lastly, there is the hybrid cloud, which takes aspects from both the public and private cloud computing models.
Public clouds are fairly popular because they offer a greater degree of scalability when compared to in-house solutions. They are also more affordable, since you don't have to invest in on-premise setups that require costly hardware. Instead of maintaining in-house infrastructure, you outsource this work to a service provider.
It's easy to know if you are in the public cloud as it is easy to setup yourself in minutes with just a credit card as all the resources are waiting to be over-allocated.
However, public clouds can sometimes suffer from a noisy neighbour issue in which one customer monopolises the shared computing assets. Other customers' systems will perform poorly because of the reduced resources. This is the reason why a company's website or system is fast one minute and slow the next. A particular customer application may require extra cpu power, high disk activity or internet bandwidth without your knowledge.
You can sidestep this problem by using a provider that offers defined quality-of-service controls. These details, documented in a clear-cut service level agreement, serve as the provider's guarantee that you'll never be left without the computing resources you need.
Another solution involves using a cloud-based service that doesn't use virtualisation. Since multiple instances of an application are not running on the same server, these services avoid the noisy neighbour issue altogether- although are more expensive.
As a final option, consider using a hybrid cloud like our SensibleCloud.
This would give you the ability to select to run critical aspects of your business on a private or dedicated server environment and less important ones on a public server. Since the ones on the public server are not particularly vital, your business would not suffer from the occasionally slower speeds. For more advice about selecting a cloud computing model for your business, speak with an experienced IT professional.