Adam Stern is founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual (, says:

Cloud computing isn’t quite the overnight sensation that it first seems.  This hugely popular computing model has paid its dues, having been battle-tested by organizations large and small for the better part of a decade.  The appeal is clear: the cloud model delivers 24/7 availability, the efficiency (and affordability) of a virtual server infrastructure, the familiarity of a web-based interface, and the almost infinite scalability of the underlying architecture.

Even so, organizations still have questions about the cloud model, its relevance for them and its benefits overall.  Among the first questions – “what kind of cloud is best for me?” – speaks in part to the maturity of the model.  Cloud computing has had time to evolve a bit and, in the cloud, one size does not fit all. Organizations can choose from at least two types of clouds: public and private, with a third option — hybrid cloud, which blends the two – also worthy of consideration.

In a public cloud (also known as a shared cloud), virtual computing services are available publicly over the Internet, with users able to exert little or no control over access or the underlying infrastructure.  What’s so good about this approach?  Plenty: software, hardware and administration are all less complex, and that relative simplicity translates to lower costs and quicker deployments, since there’s no need to develop in-house applications.  Because a public cloud’s resources are shared across the Web, no single user organization needs to manage or administer the underlying architecture that supports the cloud.  And as an organization’s computing needs change, a public cloud can be scaled up.

Next: A look at private and hybrid clouds, and some suggested criteria for making the right choice.

Adam Stern is founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual, a leading provider of virtual server cloud computing services for businesses.