No matter the type of cloud being used, whether private, public or hybrid, nearly everyone agrees that cloud computing provides numerous benefits in terms of instant provisioning, virtualized resources, scalability and ability to rapidly expand the server base.
The choice of public or private cloud depends largely on your business needs. Let’s explore the different cloud computing options, their features, benefits and use cases.
What is Public Cloud?
Public clouds are multitenant environments, where enterprises or individuals can purchase a slice of the cloud environment – an environment that is shared with other tenants or clients. Some of the most notable public clouds include Microsoft Azure and AWS.
Let’s take a look at some of the features of public cloud services.
Virtually all public clouds offer clients a pay-as-you-go model where they only need to pay for computing resources by the hour. This is ideal for organizations that regularly create and tear down development servers.
Since public clouds typically offer a pay-as-you-go model, there are no contract requirements stipulating that organizations must use or pay for a certain volume of computing power or use the services for a specified period of time.
If clients decide to shut down their servers after using it for a day, there are no contracts to say otherwise.
For the pay-as-you-go utility model to make good business sense for service providers, self-managed systems are required. This is advantageous for clients with the technical expertise and willingness to set up and manage their servers but disadvantageous to enterprises that prefer fully managed solutions.
What is Private Cloud?
By definition, private clouds are single-tenant environments where there is dedicated hardware for a single client. A more commonly used private cloud solution is one where clients subscribe to a multi-tenant environment offering virtual private cloud hosting.
Organizations achieve network isolation by creating private subnets while reducing costs by sharing hardware slices with other tenants. Private clouds offer the following key benefits.
This is one of the most important benefits of going the private cloud route. Since private clouds are dedicated to single clients, the network, data storage, and hardware can be designed to a high level of security. Furthermore, the customized design cannot be accessed by other enterprise clients using the same data center.
It’s much easier to deliver HIPAA, PCI, and Sarbanes Oxley compliance for clients on fully private or virtual private cloud deployments since the network, data storage, and hardware configurations have been dedicated to a single client.
Organizations on private clouds can specify and customize their storage performance, network performance, and hardware performance.
Most public cloud deployments are used for quality assurance testing or where user demands rise and fall at certain times. As such, the pay-as-you-go model offered by public cloud services is ideal in such cases since clients only pay for what they use (during peak periods). Public clouds are also used for development systems and web servers where compliance and security requirements are less of an issue.
On the other hand, private clouds are service layers within firewalls and come with dedicated networks, storage and hardware for a single client. Private clouds are not delivered on a pay-as-you-go basis or through a utility model because the hardware is dedicated.
However, there is a workaround. Virtual private clouds offer enterprises the benefits of the public cloud’s pay-as-you-go model as well as the specifically provisioned storage, network and hardware configurations.
Mid to large-size organizations generally prefer private clouds since they meet the compliance and security requirements required by clients and industry regulatory bodies.
Making the Business Case for Public Cloud
Although most organizations opt for private cloud to avoid the perceived security risks of public cloud, private clouds are undeniably more expensive and may be even less reliable and secure than their public counterparts.
Public clouds are much cheaper than private clouds due to much greater economies of scale, especially with service providers like Amazon and Google. Also, such large-scale public cloud providers constantly integrate the latest security tech and hire top security experts to thwart the sophisticated exploits and attacks of cybercriminals.
Due to these factors and many others, public clouds have better utilization rates. Public clouds offer spare demand on a pay-as-you-go basis while organizations need to build and maintain various servers to meet spikes in demand that may arise.
Ultimately, the choice between public or private cloud comes down to control. With private cloud, you know exactly where your data is stored and control the security measures in place, while with public cloud the service provider controls the location of your data as well as the security measures.
However, this can be a good thing since large-scale public cloud providers leverage the latest security tech and employ the very best security professionals.