Comparing public, private and hybrid clouds

Three different models

Nearly everyone uses the cloud, but not everyone uses the same type of cloud. There are in fact three different cloud models, including public, private and hybrid clouds. To help determine which cloud best suits your company’s needs, the following explores how these three models compare and contrast.

Public cloud

Public clouds are what most people refer to when thinking about “the cloud.” What makes a public cloud “public” is it is hosted by a service provider like Amazon, Google, IBM or Microsoft, which enables customers to access and share basic computer infrastructure, including hardware, storage and bandwidth.

A public cloud has several benefits. In addition to delivering services over the web, customers only pay for the resources they use like a utility bill. Moreover, since organizations have access to the service provider’s cloud infrastructure, they don’t have to worry about personally installing and maintaining it.

One drawback of a public cloud pertains to security. Public clouds often cannot meet many security regulatory compliance requirements since different servers reside in multiple countries with various security regulations. Moreover, network issues can occur during peaks in online traffic. And while a public cloud model is generally cost-effective by offering pay-as-you go pricing, expenses can accrue quickly when moving large amounts of data.

Private cloud

A private cloud is one in which a business has sole access to infrastructure resources. Customers can choose to have the private cloud located at an on-site data center or hosted by a third-party service provider.

A benefit of a private cloud model is it provides greater security compared to a public cloud model since a single company is the only designated entity that has access to it. This also makes it easier for organizations to customize their resources to meet specific IT requirements.

A disadvantage of a private cloud is it can be expensive to install. Moreover, businesses are restricted to cloud infrastructure resources as specified in a contract. The heightened security of a private cloud can make it difficult to access from remote locations too.

Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud model provides multiple options from different service providers. With a hybrid cloud, data and applications move between both a private and public cloud. For example, customers can choose to store data in a private cloud, while running an application in a public cloud.

A benefit of a hybrid cloud approach is it allow users to take advantage of both public and private clouds. It also provides a great deal of flexibility as applications drift across multi-cloud environments. Additionally, a hybrid cloud model is cost-effective since companies can decide to use more expensive cloud resources only as needed.

A difficulty with a hybrid cloud is it can be hard to maintain and secure on account of being more complex. Additionally, integration can be a challenge since a hybrid cloud is a combination of different clouds, data and applications. Major compatibility issues can arise across the infrastructure when developing a hybrid cloud as well.

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