Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud: Key Factors to Consider for Your Business

The demand for cloud computing has grown exponentially in recent years, particularly due to the pandemic and the need for more data protection and storage.

The demand for cloud computing has grown exponentially in recent years, particularly due to the pandemic and the need for more data protection and storage. MarketsandMarkets research forecasts the international cloud technology market to reach $1240.9 billion in 2027 from $545.8B in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate of 17.9%. Companies have two options to meet their needs: the public or private cloud—or a mixture of both models. 

A public cloud allows businesses to take advantage of increased scalability while maintaining control over their data privacy and governance policies with a private cloud solution. Organizations must understand the public and private clouds before selecting one model for their tech stack. This article will discuss what is private cloud vs public clouds in detail so businesses can decide which option works best.

What Is Public Cloud?

The public cloud model is one of businesses' and individuals' most opted cloud solutions. Usually, the public cloud is held and operated by a third-party agent and accessed through the internet, allowing users to share storage, hardware, or devices with all participating clients at no upfront fee. It's advantageous for those who don't want to build up IT infrastructure from scratch while still enjoying the benefit of scalability--an important factor for today's modern startups. 

Most services provided through the public cloud require a subscription fee per user; however, these fees can often be worth it due to their ROI potential. With this kind of "ready-to-go" technology, people can access popular providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, IBM CloudA and Oracle Cloud without much hassle--all that's required is an internet connection and a credit card. With so many options immediately upstream in today's digital marketplace space, the public cloud will be here for years.

Benefits Of The Public Cloud

Here are a few advantages of using a public cloud:

  • Cost Efficiency: Public models can easily be scaled up to meet customer requirements, which makes them a cost-effective option because multiple users share a one public infrastructure model, and vendors can charge lower rates. Tenants appreciate this configuration because it minimizes overhead costs associated with IT support and hardware processes. Moreover, the pay-as-you-go public cloud model gives users an economical way to use cloud services.
  • Enhanced Business Agility: Public cloud infrastructure provides organizations with more flexibility and scalability than on-premise solutions. The simplicity of scaling up or down allows businesses to easily adjust their resources as needed, which helps ensure faster deployment while accommodating fluctuating demand. 
  • Minimized Maintenance Costs: Companies don't need to hire large teams of IT professionals to manage their public cloud infrastructures, the responsibility rests with the vendor, freeing up valuable time and resources that can be allocated elsewhere within the organization. 
  • Improved Security: Organizations can develop failover systems and backup strategies for better protection against unexpected outages or downtime by hosting user data in multiple locations separate from the company's on-site data centers.

Disadvantages of Public Cloud 

Some of the notable disadvantages of public cloud include:

  • Fluctuating Costs: Public cloud infrastructure is often more affordable than other solutions; however, the cost of ownership for larger enterprises can soar if usage scales significantly. 
  • Restricted Technical Oversight: With the public cloud, organizations need more control and visibility into their infrastructure. Furthermore, this lower control can create challenges when compliance regulations are in effect. 
  • Difficult Data Tracking: On the flipside, Public cloud model vendors hardly get a chance to communicate with their customers. A meaningful conversation could easily help them in decoding essential details such as who is storing the data and who has access to it. As a result, gain thorough insights of the customer pain points and begin bridging the gaps even before it gets widely noticed. 
  • Insufficient Customization: The multi-tenant structure of public clouds supports limited modifications specific to a customer's needs, making it unreliable for businesses needing complex network architecture.

What Is Private Cloud?

Private clouds offer organizations a dedicated hosted computing infrastructure within their control. They feature exclusive infrastructure and isolated hardware only accessed via private networks (unlike in public clouds, where resources are shared among users). The single-tenant architecture makes them highly secure and suitable for regulated industries such as finance and healthcare. The extra security feature pushes tech giants, government institutions, and etc., to opt for a private cloud to manage their IT infrastructure. 

Popular private cloud providers include HPE, Dell, IBM, Oracle and some recognizable names from the public cloud space like AWS, Google Cloud Platform or Microsoft Azure. With these providers, there's often additional flexibility regarding tailored solutions for specific organizational needs and scale-up speeds on demand. Private cloud provides exclusive usage of all its computing resources to one user, making them a great choice if you want better control over your hosting operations.

Benefits of Private Cloud

Here are the advantages of using private cloud:

  • Customization of Compliance: Organizations operating in different regions can customize their private cloud to adhere to local privacy protocols like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and Sarbanes Oxley. This allows the company to maintain compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. 
  • Good Infrastructure Command: Private cloud models don’t host multiple tenants, giving proprietors full control on the cloud-based infrastructure and ensuring a higher level of security than would be provided by a public model. 
  • Easy Scalability: Companies can scale their storage on demand via the private cloud, using dedicated servers or a hybrid deployment. Additionally, mission-critical applications can easily be deployed this way as well.

Disadvantages of Private Cloud 

Private cloud also has some disadvantages, including:

  • High Cost: Private cloud models are more costly in total ownership than public cloud services, especially when using the private cloud for short-term use.
  • Limitations For Phone Users: The strong security protocols embedded into private clouds make accessing it from mobile devices difficult. 
  • Incapable Of Meeting Unexpected Demand: Unpredictable demands cannot be met in private clouds relying solely on on-premise computing resources due to their limited availability.

Public Cloud vs Private Cloud: Differences

Check out the comparison for the key difference between public and private cloud.

Public Cloud
Managed by third-party cloud service providers
Accessible to the public and multiple tenants
Shared infrastructure resources
Highly scalable resources can be easily scaled up or down
Limited customization options
Security measures provided by the cloud service provider
Pay-as-you-go model, based on resource usage
Managed and maintained by the service provider
Provides flexibility in terms of resource utilization and cost
Compliance measures provided by the service provider
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud
Private Cloud
Owned and managed by the organization
Restricted access, limited to a single organization
Dedicated infrastructure resources
Scalability depends on the organization's infrastructure
Higher level of customization and control over infrastructure
Greater control over security measures and data protection
Capital and operational expenses associated with ownership
Responsibility for maintenance rests with the organization
Offers greater flexibility and control over infrastructure
Enables organizations to meet specific compliance requirements
On-premises private cloud, VMware Cloud, OpenStack

Organizations must evaluate their specific needs when choosing between public and private clouds. Depending on their requirements, certain companies may opt for a hybrid cloud approach that offers the advantages of both public and private solutions.

Public Cloud And Private Cloud: Similarities

A comparison of both cloud services is beneficial in understanding how the benefits and drawbacks of each model may affect your business. Reviewing the similarities between these two cloud computing models can provide better insight into which option may work best for you.

Scalable Resources

Cloud computing models greatly benefit from scalable resources. Whether in public or private clouds, users and service providers can access valuable resources such as software, hardware, servers, networks, storage and services with minimal overhead. This enables users to easily and quickly access a shared resources pool to be provisioned and released on demand. Cloud services provide convenient and efficient access to these scalable resources whenever needed.

Workload Placement

Placement of workloads in private cloud and public cloud must be optimized based on a number of factors. From a business standpoint, it's crucial to consider parameters like service level agreements, global reach, compliance and regulatory needs, and control over business assets. From a technical perspective, considerations should be made regarding the level of security, performance, elasticity of the workload, backend integration, and data volume handling capacity. 

It's also important to factor elements like SaaS beneficence and accessibility to cloud expertise into the ecosystem considerations. Additionally, strategies should be included in decision-making when determining the best place for workloads in private or public clouds, licensing practices for applications, and business continuity plans.

Bringing Technologies Together

Both public cloud and private cloud leverage cloud technologies such as the OS, a platform of management, and APIs that provide interoperability among various applications, operating systems, and microservices. They enable organizations to benefit from enhanced backup systems, automated orchestration, and autoscaling regardless of the underlying hosting infrastructure.

Functionality Additions

Organizations that use public cloud and private cloud can gain additional functionality through automation and virtualization software. Virtualization increases the available resources by decoupling IT components from physical hardware. In virtualized environments, such as virtual machines or containers, resources are distributed across virtualized elements. This hardware optimization helps businesses get better value from their existing technology investments. Automation can also play a role by reducing time spent on manual tasks, such as server equipping or service integrations. These automated processes enable infrastructure that works without any human input. Ultimately, these added features improve productivity and efficiency from both public and private clouds.

Final Thoughts

Businesses require different control, privacy, and customization levels for cloud technology. Private clouds offer these features with great flexibility and control over pricing. Consequently, large organizations that need exclusive ownership of their business-critical systems will benefit from private cloud setup. On the other hand, small-sized enterprises may want to take the public cloud route because of its user-friendly setup and affordability. However, private and public clouds are useful in several scenarios; the appropriate choice ultimately comes down to an organization's IT strategy and specific needs per basis. Moreover, a mix of both models is not unlikely for optimal infrastructure build outs.

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