What Is the Public Cloud?
The public cloud is a computing model in which third-party vendors deliver various computing resources over the internet. The resources are available to the general public. Any organisation can simply sign up with a cloud provider and begin provisioning services.
The public cloud services typically fall into these three categories:
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
SaaS offerings are ready-to-use software solutions, while PaaS is typically used for tasks like app development. IaaS gives companies the cloud infrastructure to build their overall environment; computing resources might include cloud storage, servers and networking. Prominent public cloud providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
What Is the Private Cloud?
The private cloud is a cloud resource owned and used by one organisation. The IT resources that make up the private cloud environment can be hosted on-premises or in third-party data centres. The key indicator of a private cloud resource is that there is no multi-tenancy: the resources are used solely by one single group of users.
The private cloud is an attractive cloud model for companies that want a bespoke cloud connect service, as it allows them to have more control over their resources. They might store sensitive data, have an in-house team, or wish to host behind their own company firewall. As such, private cloud deployments offer organisations more management and customisation options.
What is the difference between a public and private cloud?
The difference between public and private cloud computing typically comes down to resource access. In a public cloud environment, the physical resources are used by many different organisations simultaneously in a multi-tenancy arrangement. They are managed, owned and maintained by third-party public cloud providers and rented to users on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The private cloud, meanwhile, is used by only one organisation with single tenant access. Some private cloud resources are owned by organisations and hosted in an on-site data centre.
More commonly, though, companies choose to purchase or rent private computing resources hosted in third-party data centres, otherwise known as hosted private clouds. This gives them the access controls of private cloud – without having to host on-premises. The two types of cloud can also be combined in multi-cloud or hybrid cloud setups.
The Hybrid Cloud: Merging Private and Public Clouds
When an organisation combines public and private cloud resources, it’s known as a hybrid cloud environment. The individual cloud resources can be connected by virtual private networks, APIs and orchestration tools. The crucial and defining feature of a hybrid cloud setup is that it contains at least one private cloud resource and one public cloud element. Learn more about Hybrid Cloud Security from our downloadable whitepaper.
Multi-Cloud: Two or More of the Same Cloud Platform
A multi-cloud environment contains two or more of the same cloud type. It’s most commonly found as two or more public cloud resources which work independently of each other. A company can design multi-cloud strategies from the beginning, but they can also occur due to unforeseen scaling, changes over time, or shadow IT.
What Are the Benefits of the Public Cloud?
Public cloud services give users many options for scaling. New resources can be provisioned on-demand, while existing environments can be scaled up and down if needed. As the resources are hosted and managed by a third-party vendor, there is little time overhead in installing and deploying them.
The public cloud offers excellent options for backups, redundancy and disaster recovery. Clients can choose from different cloud storage types, located in various locations if needed.
Cost Savings and Flexible Pricing
One of the most notable advantages of public cloud strategies is the pricing. Costs can be more predictable and kept low through usage management, while the pay-as-you-go model avoids the need for initial outlays on IT infrastructure.
Less Maintenance of On-Premises Infrastructure
As such, there are no ongoing maintenance costs – whether financial or in staff time. The public cloud means that the user has no responsibility for hosting and management, so effectively outsources those duties to the vendor.
What Are the Benefits of the Private Cloud?
Safeguard Sensitive Data
One of the key reasons that an organisation might choose the private cloud is data ownership. This might be for legislative reasons, or simply company preference. Many industries must also host sensitive data on private resources with stringent access controls.
More Control Over Security Measures
Private cloud storage, therefore, also gives the owner more control over security. They can choose to safeguard data or certain workloads on private cloud resources, while using the public cloud for less security-conscious tasks.
No Shared Resources
With the virtual private cloud, there is also peace of mind over resource usage. The owner controls who can access the resource and which controls are in place, with no shared use of any resources - unlike the multi-tenant structure of the public cloud.
Private cloud users can customise their resources to match requirements. For example, they might optimise their private cloud architecture for low latency, more storage space, or enhanced security. This can be done for entire systems, or specific workloads.
What Are the Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Computing?
The Best of Both Worlds
With a hybrid cloud strategy, you can pick and choose features from both types of cloud technologies. You can have a private network portion to keep sensitive data, for example, combining it with the ability to scale up other workloads hosted on public cloud computing services.
Employing a hybrid cloud strategy also gives you flexibility. You can choose to optimise specific workloads for high performance – especially those on private cloud resources hosted in off-site high-speed data centres. Combined with public cloud resources, this makes it straightforward to tailor a system to meet workload performance requirements.
Business Streamlining and Automation
Using orchestration tools and proper data management, hybrid cloud deployments can help you automate and streamline repetitive tasks, freeing staff to concentrate on more important tasks.
Public Vs Private Vs Hybrid Cloud: Which Should I Use?
So, which cloud solution should you use? There are many potential use cases of the public, private and hybrid cloud – each depending on your unique business needs. Below are some situations where each cloud type might stand out.
Public cloud use cases include companies that:
- Want to save money on purchasing IT infrastructure outright.
- Do not have a dedicated IT professional or team to manage their system.
- Want to deploy straightforward workloads quickly.
- React to fluctuating demands in traffic.
- Want to avoid vendor lock-in and use different suppliers for different tasks.
- Do not store highly sensitive data.
Private cloud services might suit organisations that:
- Require strict management and control over sensitive data storage.
- Want sole use of their computing resources, avoiding multi-tenancy situations.
- Have predictable levels of traffic and demand.
- Require high levels of customisation within their environment.
The hybrid cloud, meanwhile, can suit businesses that:
- Want the best of both worlds – combining the security and ownership of private cloud with the flexibility of the public cloud infrastructure.
- Want to use the public cloud for some workloads without sacrificing control over others.
- Have the expertise to manage the connections between resources.
- Require a tailored solution that meets complex or unique business needs.
How Interxion Can Help Deliver Your Cloud Solution
Different types of cloud offer different benefits. The public cloud can give you flexibility, scalability and easy deployment for a straightforward monthly cost. The private cloud gives you control and higher levels of security. When combined, the hybrid cloud lets you enjoy the perks of both.
At Interxion, our data centres offer the ideal infrastructure to host any type of colocation cloud service. Whether you’ve chosen the public or private cloud, or both, we can help bring your cloud services to life. Contact us today for a quote or learn more with our whitepapers.