Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud: Understanding Your Options

In the movie The Matrix, Morpheus offers Neo a choice – the blue pill or the red pill. Like Neo, businesses also face a choice when it comes to cloud deployments: public or private?

The cloud technology landscape has become diverse and complex, with the private and public cloud having specific purposes and equally impressive benefits. The shift to the cloud to handle data storage and security has enabled businesses to be disruptive, but only when the right cloud technology is used.

Choosing the right cloud technology requires you to understand the intricacies of both these models.

Public Cloud

The public cloud is owned and operated by third-party vendors, with users accessing the services over the internet. Essentially, you share the same hardware, storage and network devices with other users (tenants) for free or via a freemium or subscript-based model, wherein you pay based on your usage. Microsoft Azure, Amazon’s AWS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are some of the most popular public cloud technologies.

The Benefits of Public Cloud

There are many advantages for businesses that use the public cloud.

Keep Calm & Save Money

The public cloud is inexpensive because of its economies of scale. The public cloud serves multiple tenants, due to which public cloud vendors can drive prices incredibly low. Users also enjoy reduced overheads coming from hardware operations and IT support staff. Moreover, the pay-per-use model allows tenants to regularly spin up and tear down development servers in an economical way.

Freedom from Maintenance

Public cloud vendors do the heavy lifting when it comes to server maintenance. It is an assembled cloud infrastructure that demands minimum supervision. IT professionals are relieved of the pressure of managing the environment, allowing them to focus on their core responsibilities.

On-demand Scalability

Businesses can scale up public cloud storage whenever needed and scale down during low demand. They can size up their cloud storage almost instantly, achieving a faster go-to-market rate with the rapid deployment of products and services.

Robust Security

The public cloud servers are geographically separate from the business’s on-site data centers, thereby providing an additional layer of security. Cloud vendors like Amazon, Microsoft and Google have state-of-the-art infrastructure security with sophisticated redundancy and failover strategies to protect customers against outages and downtime.

Who Should Use Public Cloud?

Why does it make sense for businesses to lean towards the public cloud?

Businesses that focus on efficiency and quick scalability will get better ROI if they adopt the public cloud. The best part is that they can achieve efficiency at scale without splurging or serving complex legal compliance needs. It’s pretty much plug-and-play.

Early ventures and startups especially, can find great value in the public cloud.

Private Cloud

A private cloud serves a single tenant on dedicated hardware. It can be set up at the organization’s on-site data center or hosted by a third-party service provider. These vendors are responsible for managing the infrastructure. The servers are isolated and delivered through a private network and not shared with other users.

The Benefits of Private Cloud

In an agile, dynamic business world, business continuity is more important than ever. Organizations and IT teams are increasingly looking towards the private cloud and what it brings to the table.

Custom Compliance Like a Boss

The private cloud enables businesses to customize protocols for being compliant.

It’s ideal for businesses that operate globally or across diverse portfolios and who are thereby bound to be compliant to region-specific privacy regulations like GDPR or CCPA, or industry-specific ones like HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley.

Autonomy is the Name of the Game

Organizations enjoy greater control over their cloud infrastructure since they do not permit multitenancy. This gives data, hardware and infrastructure higher security levels. You have the flexibility to tailor-make your infrastructure and meet the needs of an ever-changing business landscape.

Scalability with No Strings Attached

A private infrastructure allows IT teams to scale storage as per the needs of the tenant. Moreover, to run heavy-duty applications smoothly, the dedicated server is integrated with a virtual server, i.e., hybrid deployment.

Who Should Use Private Cloud?

Private cloud is a must for highly regulated businesses like finance and healthcare. These sectors deal with high volumes of sensitive data that includes customer information, confidential internal records or business plans, all of which require extra security.

Large organizations like big tech companies and government agencies need to have complete control over their infrastructure. The private cloud gives them that control with the ability to scale quickly.

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud

Public Cloud VS. Private Cloud
The off-site public network infrastructure includes multiple tenants. Infrastructure The entire infrastructure (hardware, storage and networking) is procured by the tenant. The infrastructure can be operated off-site or on-site.
Vendors provide basic safeguard measures with add-on security options. Security The infrastructure can be configured to provide high levels of security via private servers and an isolated network environment.
Basic security compliance model with premium add-on options available. Compliance Comply with any privacy regulation — a custom compliance model.
Services are available instantly, enabling companies to save time. Performance A dedicated server operates within the company’s intranet, which ensures efficiency and good network performance.
Near-unlimited scalability means you’ll never be short of resources. Scalability Limited scalability. You can scale up to a certain point, after which you’ll need to run additional hardware.
Public cloud vendors like Microsoft, Google and Amazon run large networks that come with state-of-the-art infrastructure security. Reliability Infrastructure can be configured to include contingencies. Resources can be diverted to other hardware (off-site or on-site) in the event of a failure.
The initial investment is very low or nil. No capital costs. It’s either free or follows a freemium or pay-as-you-use model. Affordability The initial investment for hardware is high, requiring capital costs to set up and maintain. The investments include purchasing all the hardware, setting it up and monthly operating expenditure to maintain the infrastructure.
Quick and easy deployment over the internet with no long-term contracts. Deployment Substantial time and effort required for successful deployment. This includes upfront investment to implement software, hardware and staffing requirements.
The hardware and networks are maintained by the cloud services provider. IT professionals have to invest no or minimal time in maintaining the infrastructure. Maintenance Higher maintenance involvement. The tenant is responsible for setting up and maintaining the private cloud. It demands supervision from IT professionals.
Less control over data governance and privacy. Control No shared devices, resulting in more control over data governance and privacy.
Limited adaptability and customization. Customization Greater adaptability and fully customizable. Tweak your environment to meet specific needs.
Accessible from anywhere over the internet. Accessibility Accessible through private and secure network links, allowing exclusive access to the tenant.

Hybrid Cloud: The Purple Pill

hybrid cloud unifies multiple deployment types — public and private — under the same data management while keeping workloads separate. What that means is data and applications can seamlessly move between two environments without affecting each other.

Hybrid cloud tenants get the best of both worlds.

  • Scalability. Scale up and down your public cloud infrastructure to manage unpredictable workloads without impacting the workloads running on the private cloud.
  • Security. Sensitive data can be deployed on the private cloud while generic workloads can run on public clouds, all at the same time.
  • Performance. Greater flexibility in distributing data across multiple data centers for highly effective redundancy, failover and disaster recovery.

Winding Up

On paper, it seems like businesses are left with a tough decision when it comes to choosing between public cloud vendors or private cloud vendors. In reality, organizations tend to leverage all cloud deployments (including hybrid) to improve business productivity.

However, these providers and their SLAs may not include data protection in the case of certain events or may not be able to offer SLAs with regards to recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) that are required by the business. That’s where Unitrends comes in.

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