Organizations looking to take their first steps into the cloud will quickly run into the question: what type of cloud environment do you want? For some, this is a decision they were prepared for. For others, the concepts of “public, private and hybrid clouds” are completely new. This isn’t a choice to make without any background knowledge, so we’re going to cover the basics of each option to help you make an informed decision.
The Public Cloud
The public cloud is what many automatically think of when they think about cloud computing. This model centers around the concept of shared resources, as businesses are able to outsource their IT operations to a managed cloud provider, essentially sharing the resources with other organizations. They access cloud resources via the Internet and eliminate management and maintenance on their end. Despite the multi-tenancy, each organization in the public cloud environment experiences high levels of security for their corporate information. The public cloud truly exemplifies the “as a service” nature of cloud computing, allowing organizations to use a pay-as-you-go model. However, it leads to less control over operation of the cloud solution, as it is run and managed by the cloud provider.
This model leads to low, predictable costs and shifts an organization from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure one. Overall, upfront and labor costs are reduced. A huge benefit of public cloud computing is scalability. A business has practically unlimited access to cloud resources and cloud space, and can scale up or down as necessary. The public cloud also leads to automated deployments and the reliability of working with a cloud provider. Basically, all the functions you’d need from a traditional IT resource can be moved to the cloud.
The Private Cloud
While public cloud computing certainly has its benefits, many organizations remain hesitant to completely shift everything to that environment. A private cloud is an environment dedicated solely to one organization. It can be implemented within that organization’s on-premises data center or hosted off-site with the help of a cloud provider. This sense of security is what attracts many businesses to the private model, though, despite common belief, it is not inherently more secure than the public cloud. While a managed cloud provider can manage private cloud solutions, this model leads to more responsibility on the business’ end and reduced cost savings due to the lack of multi-tenancy. However, the private cloud environment is extremely beneficial for enterprises that must adhere to strict industry regulations and compliance standards, like government organizations or financial institutions.
The Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud computing is a huge trend this year, with 90% of enterprises saying they’re going to pursue this option. This is a great compromise between public and private clouds, as it offers the major benefits of both. Often, parts of a business’ operations are better suited for either public or private environments, and the hybrid cloud accommodates this. Businesses can test and move certain applications and resources to the public cloud, while maintaining key infrastructure or mission-critical resources on the private cloud.
The hybrid cloud tends to reassure organizations that have an initial hesitancy about the security of a public cloud solution, whether that hesitancy is justified or not. It’s a great way to start experimenting with cloud services and maintain legacy resources while opening new lines of business in the cloud. Basically, companies can complete non-sensitive operations and collaboration within the public cloud environment while ensuring security for critical data and apps in the private environment. That “best of both worlds” idea is why hybrid cloud adoption continues to grow.
Hopefully this post has provided clarity and insight into the different cloud environments. The choice between public, private or hybrid cloud computing is an important one and can impact the success of a cloud transition. If you want to continue learning about this topic, we have a CloudUniversity course dedicated to it! Begin “Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud” right here!