Even as companies are still learning how to implement and optimize cloud services, the landscape of cloud providers continues to evolve just as quickly. Enter the community cloud: in this newer model, companies and public entities are becoming cloud providers themselves.
In short, community cloud is a system of delivering services to various organizations with similar computing needs such as government agencies and academic institutions. The community cloud may be located on-site or off-site, and it can be operated by the users or managed by a third party.
The key element of the community cloud is that the infrastructure is shared by multiple groups in order to obtain relevant, tailored cloud services.
Motivation for community cloud
Some organizations have begun developing or joining with community cloud services in order to save money or reduce the work involved in sourcing or implementing specific services. The true benefits of community cloud, however, are felt by organizations with specific requirements.
Examples of organizations most likely to want community cloud include these:
- Universities with multiple departments, all of which can use a similar model.
- Government agencies with specific sets of compliance and security standards.
- Niche industries with specific needs not prevalently addressed by traditional providers.
- Large enterprises with the capability to operate a cloud and leverage its potential with partners.
By implementing community cloud, smaller organizations can come together to meet common goals–and do so cost effectively. Larger organizations benefit from taking hands-on control of a cloud solution that is optimized for them; at the same time, they retain the option of using managed services to tend to the system.
IT leaders recognize potential in community cloud
As the trend of IT collaboration continues, many CIOs see the potential for unified efforts and powerful, efficient results by using a community cloud. This new model may not work for everyone, but community cloud is quickly proving itself capable of delivering desirable outcomes for organizations by leveraging common interests to solve common problems.
With a balance of public cloud versatility and private cloud security, community cloud offers a novel approach that appeals to collaborative and segmented organizations. Community cloud offers an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and create innovative opportunities elsewhere in an organization by solving a problem that multiple groups are attempting to address at once.
That said, choosing the community cloud model requires a high level of transparency and partnership among the groups involved. Specifically, delivery costs and privacy standards would become known to the other tenants.
Organizations may elect to use the community cloud model simply because of similar performance requirements, but sharing infrastructure means functioning in a multi-tenancy environment; thus, it is drawing keen interest from branches of governments and universities.
How community cloud could disrupt the services market
If many more organizations adopt community cloud solutions, the relationship of traditional providers could change. Value-added service providers would likely need to diversify and create new markets of their own. Another option would be to develop competing solutions for organizations interested in the community model.
As the cloud drives innovation and creates markets, community cloud is becoming an important model that disrupts the cloud market itself.