What Cloud Is Best For SharePoint?

Here is an interesting number: 19,700,000. That’s the number of results I received when I did a Bing search on “Cloud Computing.” (For Google – there were 310 million results.) If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that my world is squarely focused on Microsoft Technologies and specifically SharePoint. What I’d like to discuss today is what cloud is best for SharePoint.

There are three different types of clouds that we need to consider for SharePoint:

  • Private Cloud
  • Public Cloud
  • SaaS

Private Cloud

A private cloud makes use of virtualization – but that virtualization runs on a server that only they use. That server would be called a dedicated hypervisor. The primary benefit to this configuration is that you get all of the resources of the hypervisor without having to share them with anyone else. The downside is that it is often more costly because you have to pay for the entire hypervisor.

Public Cloud

A public cloud makes use of virtualization as well, but the hypervisor it’s using is potentially shared by other companies or services. This server will run the same version of your operating system as a private cloud, but you will have to share the resources of the hypervisor. The result is you can’t guarantee the VM’s performance because you don’t know if it is going to be running another payload on that same server.


Software as a Service is the model where the hypervisor and the VM are actually obscured from you and all that is exposed is the end application – in this case, SharePoint. Office365 is an excellent example of this. Here you are trusting the provider (Microsoft) to run the application is an “available and permanent” way.

Here are Rackspace, we run our SharePoint payloads primarily on a private cloud (dedicated to each customer) and most times we use VMware as the technology provider of choice using EMC storage. EMC has proven to be an excellent technology provider with solutions that enable us to deliver to our customers the options they require. These options could be technical or  driven by price.

Hopefully this quick primer into the different types of cloud will help you decide where to place you SharePoint workload.

For more information on Rackspace and its relationship with EMC, come visit our booth (No. 256) at EMC World in Las Vegas this week. Check out where our Rackspace specialists will be throughout the event.

Jeff is a chief technologist for Rackspace. He has been working with SharePoint since the early 2003 product year and is the architect and builder of Rackspace’s SharePoint support offering. Jeff has designed and installed over 150 SharePoint farms for companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 firms. Today he is the GM of the Rackspace Microsoft Private Cloud group.


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