As a developer, there is no doubt you have heard ad nauseam about the different cloud deployment models: Private, Public, and Hybrid, even if you are not a cloud developer. If you haven’t, feel free to read our brief overview of the Cloud Computing Types before you go any further. If you are a complete novice to the subject, you can also upgrade your knowledge base by reading our primer: What is Cloud Computing?
For today, this article will take a deeper dive into cloud concepts and compare the different cloud options.
Many news reports indicate the increasing rates of cloud computing adoption. Organizations and companies are in a race towards finding the best suitable cloud model type for their business needs. The most popular cloud computing delivery models, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), allow you to select between private, public, and hybrid clouds. But what, exactly, does that mean?
Each of the above cloud deployment models provides many benefits over traditional on-premises infrastructure. They are briefly described as:</p>
- Public cloud: a shared cloud that can be accessed by many organizations and individuals and whose resources are shared amongst them.
- Private cloud: a cloud dedicated to only one organization or individual.
- Hybrid cloud: a cloud environment containing both public and private cloud options.
What is Public Cloud?
You can think of a Public Cloud as a multi-tenant cloud; that is to say that It is a pooled resource that distributes and shares the infrastructure with other users. Public clouds guarantee each user a portion of the total resources and keep your data and workloads isolated by using secure virtual divisions or virtual machines. Public cloud also refers to renting computing as a service via yearly or monthly subscription rather than the user having to purchase a physical server.
Public clouds are the most popular type of cloud computing service. They provide a wide set of solutions to suit virtually every business need in relation to storage or hosted applications. Public clouds include the following features:
- High scalability, automation, and elasticity.
- Low-cost subscriptions and, in some cases, free.
- The Pay-as-you-go model, whereby a user pays only for the resources they use.
- The service provider owns, operates, and maintains the server.
In general, by sharing hardware, storage, and network devices, developers will have an affordable cloud solution. Public cloud services can also include web-based applications such as email, online office applications, and software development environments.
Public Cloud Pros and Cons
By knowing the pros and cons of public clouds, you can decide if it is a suitable cloud solution for your needs. Advantages of a public cloud service for developers include:
- No up-front capital expenditures for buying and maintaining a traditional on-premise infrastructure.
- Technical agility and elasticity; scale up or down resources as your needs dictate.
- Less complexity than other options.
- Affordability; since resources are shared, public clouds tend to be cheaper than other cloud-based solutions.
- High reliability and performance.
The downsides of using a public cloud can include:
- Lack of security.
- Lack of technical control.
- Lack of compliance, especially for developers that rely on sensitive information.
Read: Best Practices and Solutions for Cloud Security
What is Private Cloud?
As its name indicates, the private cloud refers to a dedicated service or solution for a single organization. The resources are not shared with any other users. Private clouds offer two options: either the data center and infrastructure are located in the client location or the data center and infrastructure are at the provider location and is accessed with a secure private network.
Private clouds are ideal for organizations that deal with sensitive information, like user data and transactions. Users with this type of cloud solution have more control and visibility over software, architecture, and infrastructure, making it easier to meet the compliance and workloads that usually require secure, on-premise data centers.
The main sectors and industries that usually need private cloud are:
- Government and military institutions
- Financial institutions and banks
- Mid-sized companies and enterprises
- Medical organizations such as hospitals
- Any other industries dealing with sensitive data
Private Cloud Pros and Cons
Private cloud benefits can be compared versus traditional, on-premise servers and public clouds, and include the following:
- Exclusive and dedicated environment.
- Best for security and compliance.
- High scalability and efficiency.
- Better performance and flexibility.
- Complete control over data.
Drawbacks of a private cloud:
- More expensive than public clouds.
- Lower mobility.
- Limited Scalability.
- Maintaining servers is usually the job of the customer versus being managed by the provider.
What is Hybrid Cloud?
A hybrid cloud is a cloud solution combining public and private cloud features. They can be for the same or different providers. The goal is to gain the benefits of both models and reduce the downsides associated with each. Hybrid clouds also have an integrated system to organize data flow between both types of clouds based on your needs and policies.
One of the most common uses of a hybrid cloud service is dealing with the private cloud for an organization’s own needs and workloads that need high-security compliance, in addition to complementing other, less critical, needs via the public cloud. The opposite can also occur in cases where public clouds need a small amount of private cloud storage for sensitive data.
Hybrid Cloud Pros and Cons
In an ideal situation, the hybrid cloud is supposed to increase advantages and reduce disadvantages associated with cloud solutions versus on-premise systems. However, there are some unexpected issues that can appear in some cases that can have a negative effect.
Here are some advantages of hybrid cloud solutions:
- Better policy-driven options; choose between public and private cloud options.
- Better scalability and security.
- Tend to be more reliable in terms of uptime and performance.
- More cost control; pay only for resources you use.
- Edge computing model reduces latency.
Drawbacks of hybrid cloud can include:
- Estimating price can be tricky.
- Management can be tricky depending upon the cloud service you choose. Client may be
- responsible for maintenance versus provider – or a hybrid of the two.
- Having more options means more complexity in terms of configuration, maintenance, and usage.
How to Choose a Cloud Service
When it comes to choosing between the different cloud deployment models, knowing the use case for each is crucial. For most software development teams and project managers, all cloud models are better than traditional on-premise. Your decision will be based on factors and limitations such as privacy needs, workloads, and budget. No one option can be considered the best for all businesses, as each option can be the best for your specific project needs.
The best way to choose which cloud solution is right for your company is by defining your exact needs, budget, and priorities and then comparing those to the pros and cons of each cloud model. Small businesses and startups tend to use the public cloud for maximum cost-saving, while larger organizations and enterprises usually use private or hybrid clouds.
Public cloud use-case examples:
- Typical server computing needs
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS) for business
- Testing environments for software development.
Private cloud use-case examples:
- Government and highly regulated organizations.
- Technology companies that need high security.
- Organizations that need the highest performance to invest in advanced technologies.
- Organizations that need physical control over their infrastructure.
- Companies that deal with sensitive information.
Hybrid cloud use-case examples:
- Companies serving various markets with different security and performance requirements.
- For businesses that want to optimize cloud investments by combining two cloud models.
- Gaining enhanced security for SaaS workloads.
- Gaining better performance alongside lower price by eliminating physical, on-premise servers and associated maintenance costs.