Public cloud vs. private cloud: 8 factors (beyond cost) to consider

For example, IT costs can be inadvertently overlooked as being in the travel or entertainment bucket in the manager's eye. Private cloud expenses usually fall under a more traditional IT related budget, with much greater scrutiny and traditional strategic alignment. Matching the cloud business need to the budget type must be considered.

5. Operational procedures

The processes that drive the business are frequently dependent on how infrastructure is hosted. For example, if your operating model relies on role-based permissions, be aware of how this impacts deployments across private and public infrastructure that might rely on different equipment with varying capabilities. Similarly, are there workflows or approval chains that must be changed to accommodate public or private cloud? Consider the effort required to construct, document, and train personnel on any new or different operating procedures.

6. Competitive pressure

Does your competitive environment place emphasis on a particular axis like agility or pricing? Consider the benefits and obstacles that both public and private cloud provide and their impact on your ability to compete. Failing to consider how your business will evolve in a particular deployment model could leave you exposed. Migrating from one to the other can frequently be prohibitively time-consuming.

7. Impact of contracts

Operating at scale in a public cloud environment frequently involves contracts, and as with all contracts, they come with payment terms and a contract length. If your business is growing or changing rapidly, signing binding contracts for lengthy terms can impact your ability to rapidly adjust.

8. Training and hiring

It's also important to consider the uniqueness of your infrastructure environment. Electing to go with a private or public cloud option can impact the complexity of your environment, which will have a downstream impact on your ability to find and retain qualified personnel. The more unique the task, the more challenging it is to find someone that is capable of handling it. Consider how your selection of public or private cloud will help or hinder your growth in the long run.

Planning for cloud adoption or even cloud evolution requires a good hard look at cost, but cost comes in many forms and is only the first step. Leaders and architects need to be mindful about these eight other factors, because they can either propel or cripple a company depending on how well they are accounted for.