What is the public cloud?
The public cloud is probably the most well-known type of cloud computing. A third-party provider owns and operates the physical hardware, offering a powerful infrastructure that is shared by many clients. Some of the most famous public cloud providers include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. The public cloud is set to become the most popular method of computing (overtaking on-premises) by 2020.
Many people will have had experience using public cloud services without realizing. Some of the most common examples include cloud-based server hosting, web-based email, and applications accessed online.
What is the private cloud?
The private cloud refers to any kind of computing infrastructure that is entirely dedicated to your business. It could be hosted on your site or away with a service provider – as long as the infrastructure is exclusively used by your business.
Private clouds do offer a wide range of benefits, just as the public cloud does. So, let’s first take a look at the public cloud and the pros and cons of choosing it for your organization’s computing needs.
Public cloud advantages
A major reason why small and medium-sized businesses choose the public cloud is because it’s extremely scalable. The service is typically offered effectively on a ‘pay for what you use’ basis, so if you suddenly need more computing power to meet a sudden spike in demand, you can handle this extremely easily.
Additionally, this makes it very cost effective, as you’re only ever paying for the services that you need. The fact that you’re running on a huge network of servers also ensures fantastic reliability – if one server goes down, you wouldn’t even notice and your business would go on as normal.
Public cloud disadvantages
There are some potential issues with the public cloud, of course. Some organiZations have security concerns over the fact that the cloud is shared with many other businesses. Not only this, but your server isn’t in your physical vicinity which means it could potentially be accessed by anyone in the world.
The public cloud can also potentially suffer from poorer performance compared to private clouds or on-site servers, as data transmission can be slowed down by spikes in internet use that you simply have no control over.
Private cloud advantages
Private clouds are typically considered to be most suited to large businesses. While the private cloud has the same capabilities as the public cloud, it can also give organizations better control over their security measures, which could be essential if your business handles a large amount of sensitive data or you’re concerned about falling foul of compliance regulations.
“Private cloud hosting is suited for larger projects requiring ten or more cloud servers as a starting point.” - Wirehive, cloud hosting providers
Suppliers can still supply private cloud computing on a pay as you go basis so it can be just as scalable as the public cloud. And you may be able to choose a private cloud through one of the major service providers, offering you all of the advantages of their infrastructure.
Private cloud disadvantages
The major disadvantage of the private cloud is it’s generally far more expensive, as you’re paying for a dedicated server of your own. However, there are some who are beginning to suggest that the overall advantages of the private cloud ensure that it’s ultimately far more cost effective to use than the public cloud.
What about the hybrid cloud?
There is also the hybrid cloud, in which a business utilizes both public and private cloud computing in order to achieve a most cost effective and secure solution. While this can potentially be more challenging to manage, especially for a smaller business, this may be a preferable option.