Private Cloud vs Public Cloud: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

Private Cloud vs Public Cloud: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

Recent years have seen cloud computing diversify into several deployment models suited to different workloads and business needs. The general classifications fall either into the category of public or private cloud, though many organizations use both in the form of a hybrid cloud deployment.

Most of today’s computing workloads are handled in a public cloud environment, in which the underlying computing infrastructure is shared among multiple customers. The biggest public cloud providers are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform.

The private cloud, by contrast, is a computing environment that is dedicated exclusively to the use of a specific organization. Private clouds may be hosted either in on-premises or off-site data centers and managed internally or in part or in full by an external partner.

Both options have their inherent benefits and drawbacks, which is why many businesses rely on both deployment models for handling specific use cases. When choosing which model to migrate a specific workload to, it is vital that you understand these pros and cons to minimize the risk to your organization.

Here are the three most important areas you need to consider when making your decision:

#1. Cybersecurity and compliance

Although the major public cloud providers have the backing of some of the largest companies in the world, they still come with unique security and compliance concerns. For the most part, these are beyond the control of the vendor, not least because most security-related incidents are due to mismanaged access rights on the customer’s end.

Multitenancy is also a concern for businesses operating in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare or defense. Although the risk of a data leak on the vendor’s end is very low, the regulatory landscape makes it a practical necessity for certain workloads to be handled in the private cloud. For example, many categories of sensitive data cannot be legally stored abroad, and public cloud providers don’t always give you full control over where your data physically resides. Furthermore, and even despite the extremely high security standards of the industry leaders, it can still be difficult to apply internal security policies and controls in an external IT environment.

#2. Scalability and flexibility

Vendors like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, have practically unlimited computing and data storage capacity, allowing businesses to scale almost effortlessly with demand. Provisioning new virtual machines and cloud storage is often as simple as a few clicks, making the public cloud extremely scalable. The sector has also evolved to the point it can accommodate almost all computing workloads, including those with specialized hardware or software requirements.

That being said, a private cloud provides greater flexibility, at least in theory. Since you have complete control over your private cloud computing assets, you can tailor your deployment to meet the needs of virtually any use case. On the other hand, issues with computability and integration, especially with regards to legacy hardware and software, can become a burden on management. Fortunately, private cloud infrastructures can also be outsourced, allowing businesses to enjoy many of the benefits of the public cloud but without its main drawbacks.

#3. Implementation and maintenance costs

Provisioning a new public cloud resource is typically only a matter of a few clicks. For example, creating a new virtual machine for a recent hire can be done in minutes, without any need to manually install operating systems and other software. However, this is also now possible for private clouds based on more scalable hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

Cost control is another major area of concern, but the gap between private and public cloud costs continues to narrow. In fact, in some cases, the private cloud can be the cheaper option, especially if it means avoiding vendor lock-in and you outsource all or part of its management. Business leaders should carefully evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO) of each option, especially with regards to long-term subscription contracts and data egress fees when moving to another provider.

What is the most suitable option for your business?

Most businesses will want to make use of both the public and private cloud, depending on the computing workloads in question. The right solution for the job depends on a variety of factors, such as the use case, any relevant regulations, and limitations. For example, highly sensitive proprietary data should generally be handled in a private cloud, while other routine business operations can continue to benefit from the low costs and accessibility of the public cloud.

Charles IT provides fully managed private and public cloud-based technology solutions to give your business complete freedom to build a tailor-made computing environment. Receive your instant quote today to find out more!

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