Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid Cloud Differences Explained

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Cloud computing services have completely changed how businesses operate today. Data shows that the cloud computing market is estimated to grow to a whopping $623 billion by 2023.

A recent report by a prominent networking hardware company found that 94 percent of all enterprises use the cloud in some form or the other. More than one in four software developers would much rather develop software on cloud platforms. Software testing is also done mostly on the cloud.

It has become increasingly clear that the cloud has created a paradigm shift in the way enterprise IT is being provisioned, maintained, developed and managed. Cloud computing has expanded so much that it can no longer be narrowed down to a few classifications, combinations, or architecture models. This blog looks at the three widely used types of cloud computing and the differences between them, to help you make the right choice:

Public cloud

Public cloud

Public cloud computing can be distributed through the internet and shared across organizations.  A public cloud service is usually owned and operated by a third party service provider. This cloud service provider takes care of the complete maintenance of cloud services and infrastructure. Public cloud services are ideally suited for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Some of the most popular examples of public cloud are Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and IBM’s Blue Cloud.

As public cloud services follow the pay-as-you-go model, it makes them more economical for organizations with varying requirements. This factor, in addition to them being able to handle smaller amounts of data, makes it ideal for small and mid-sized companies.

Public clouds are used more often when customers aren't unduly concerned about data compliance and control over data. Being one of the most popular models of cloud computing services, the public cloud offers plenty of choice.

The public cloud is best suited for:

  • Computing needs which are predictable, such as communication services for a specific number of users

  • Apps and services requiring IT and business operations

  • Other resource requirements which will address different peak demands

  • Software development and test environments

Advantages of public cloud

Some benefits of using the public cloud are:

  • No extra investments needed to deploy and maintain IT infrastructure

  • Reduced complexity and requirements on in-house IT expertise. The cloud vendor takes care of infrastructure management

  • Pricing options which are flexible, based on different SLA offerings

  • Increased cost agility, so organizations can focus their investments on innovation projects

Drawbacks of public cloud

The main drawbacks of the public cloud are:

  • Higher vulnerability to cloud computing security threats since public cloud strategy is shared

  • Lower visibility into how and where your data is being stored and managed

  • Increasing costs with increased usage

Private cloud

Private cloudPrivate clouds are owned, operated and managed by a single organization or entity. Private cloud has its hardware, software, and other related infrastructure located either at the data center of the organization or in a service provider's controlled environment. 

One main factor where private clouds differ from public clouds is in their flexibility and control over data. Private clouds will not be provided as a service. Some prominent examples of a private cloud are Microsoft, HP Data Centers, Ubuntu and others.

Government institutions, financial institutions such as banks, medium and large-sized companies, and any other organization dealing with sensitive information usually prefer using private clouds.

Advantages of private cloud

The biggest advantages of private cloud include:

Environments that are exclusive and other organizations cannot access.

Custom security following stringent regulations as organizations can run protocols, configurations, and measures to customize security based on unique workload requirements

Scalability and efficiency to meet ever-changing demands. There should be no compromise on security and performance.

Greater reliability for high SLA performance and efficiency.

High levels of flexibility so the infrastructure can match the evolving business and IT needs of the organization.

Drawbacks of private cloud

There are some clear drawbacks with the private cloud. Some of them are:

  • Price- The private cloud is a more expensive solution than the public cloud, especially for short-term use cases.

  • Limited mobile access- Mobile users may have limited access to the private cloud. This is because of the high security measures in place.

  • Limited scalability- Cloud infrastructure may be unable to scale to meet unpredictable demands if the cloud data center is limited to on-premise computing resources

What is hybrid cloud?

hybrid cloud

The hybrid cloud is any cloud infrastructure environment which combines both public and private cloud services. Gartner defines a hybrid cloud service as a cloud computing service composed of some combination of private, public and community cloud services, from different service providers

Resources of the hybrid cloud are typically used as an integrated infrastructure environment. Apps and data workloads will be able to share the resources between public and private cloud deployment. This can be based on organizational business and technical policies around aspects such as the security, performance, scalability, cost and efficiency of your hybrid cloud platform.

Organizations typically use private cloud environments for their usual IT workloads. They can occasionally switch to public cloud resources to take care of the spikes in network traffic. Organizations might also want to use the public cloud for workloads and data that are not so sensitive, and switch to the private cloud for more sensitive, confidential data.

Access to additional computing capacity, as a result, will not require the high capital expenditure that a private cloud environment demands, but can be delivered as a temporary IT service through a public cloud solution. The environment itself is seamlessly integrated to ensure high performance and scalability. 

When you do opt for the hybrid cloud, there is another decision you may have to consider. You will need to decide if you would like to use cloud services from a single vendor or multiple vendors.

When to use the hybrid cloud

The hybrid cloud might be best suited for:

  • Organizations which have several verticals and different IT security, regulatory, and performance requirements

  • Making best use of cloud investments without losing out on the value that public or private cloud technologies bring to the table

  • Improving security on cloud solutions that need to be delivered through secure private networks

  • A clear and strategic approach for cloud investments. This will help you switch between the best cloud service delivery models available in the market whenever needed

Advantages of hybrid cloud

  • Policy-driven option- Hybrid cloud is an extremely flexible deployment, driven by policy, which will distribute workloads across the public and private infrastructure environments. The distribution will be done based on security, performance, and cost requirements.

  • Security and scalability- Public cloud environments should be able to scale easily without exposing sensitive IT workloads to security risks.

  • Greater reliability- When services are distributed across multiple data centers, some in the public cloud and others in the private cloud, data is safer and the reliability is much higher.

  • Cost control- Organizations can improve their security posture by letting sensitive IT workloads run on the private cloud while regular workloads can run on cheaper public cloud infrastructure. You can leverage the hybrid cloud delivery model to reduce SLA breach and optimize costs.

Drawbacks of hybrid cloud

Some common drawbacks of the hybrid cloud include:

  • Price- Toggling between public and private clouds can be hard to keep track of, resulting in unnecessary expenditure.

  • Management- Strong integration between cloud infrastructure that runs through different locations and categories is what businesses need. This is a clear limitation with public cloud deployments.

  • Complexity- There is added complexity to the infrastructure when organizations need to manage an evolving mixture of private and public cloud architecture.

Which cloud model should you choose?

The cloud infrastructure model you choose will totally depend on your business requirements. You can choose the public cloud for high-volume workloads with fluctuating demands, private cloud to manage workloads having predictable usage patterns and the hybrid cloud to manage both workloads.

The Inspirisys Cloud Solution

At Inspirisys, we deliver services which cover the entire cloud lifecycle to fit your business requirements, be it public, private or hybrid. We help you design and deploy the cloud infrastructure you need with the correct mix of technology architecture, capacity and security considerations. Our extensive experience with Cloud Infrastructure as a Service and proven solution methodologies will help you define the right cloud strategy. Get in touch with us to determine the most appropriate cloud service for your business.

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