Cloud computing is a modern way of computing that allows users to take advantage of network infrastructure to derive benefits that accrue from shared servers and associated resources. Cloud computing falls into two main categories: public cloud and private cloud. This post aims to explain how both forms of cloud work, their advantages, and which one is best for you to meet your business goals.
A public cloud is a cloud computing model where the cloud service provider avails resources (such as applications and storage) to the general public. The customer’s infrastructure and or applications are hosted by the cloud service provider at the provider’s premises and thus the customer has no direct control over where the services are being hosted.
Advantages of Public Cloud:
– It is easy for a customer to connect to a public cloud since it is rendered over the internet just like any other internet service.
– Due to its simplicity and efficiency there is no time wasting on the customer’s side in terms of initial preparation and getting access to the service. Furthermore, due to visualization and multiple servers, there is no time lag when a server breaks down since the next server takes up the functions automatically.
– The customer does not incur any maintenance effort, time and resource cost since maintenance is fully rendered by the provider.
No complex contractual obligations:
– Public cloud is based on a pay-as-you-go model and hence customers are under no obligation to use the service beyond their subscription period.
– Due to server virtualization and the pay-as-you-go model, customers do not have to incur huge capital outlays resulting from the need to purchase the server and install the platform and infrastructure. Costs resulting from maintenance are non-existent. Furthermore, the customers only use the service when needed; thus there are hardly any redundant costs.
Disadvantages of Public Cloud
Perceived weaker security:
– Although public cloud has strong measures of security such as firewalls and encryptions, enterprises still find it hard to entrust their data with a third-party entity due to its high sensitivity and confidentiality. However, this perception is misplaced since public clouds use military-grade encryption and data is not centralized such that it becomes difficult to be targeted.
Lack of control:
– Due to the data being hosted by third party, many customers feel that they have no control over their data. However, this feeling of lack of control doesn’t arise since the data is much more accessible via internet than with private cloud.
– Public clouds rely on internet connection whose speed primarily depends on the internet service provider. Due to unreliable speeds of public internet services majorly caused by unpredictable spikes in demand, most public internet services are usually slower compared to private services.
This eventually results in public cloud service being slower than private cloud services. However, slower speeds can be avoided by having leasing contract with the internet service providers which ensures that delivery parameters are strictly adhered to.
Lack of sense of investment:
– Enterprises that consider long-term investment in infrastructure may find lack of capital gain in the use of public cloud a drawback.
Capital gain is the saving that results from an increase in fixed assets due to capital investments. This capital gain could be in the form of tax rebates, tax exemptions and increased goodwill due to a strong asset base. However, enterprises can invest the savings due to public cloud into other critical assets that have the advantage of being less depreciating than IT infrastructure.
A private cloud is a cloud computing model where the cloud service provider avails resources only to a specified client. Unlike public cloud, in the private cloud the computing infrastructure and applications are hosted on a private platform in the customer’s data center. This platform, infrastructure and applications are dedicated to a particular customer and thus not shared with other customers.
Advantages of Private Cloud
– Private cloud service is easily customizable since hardware facility, network facility and storage facility are held and controlled by the customer.
Higher performance levels:
– Private cloud services are deployed within the customer’s intranet and firewalls and therefore are not constrained by the speed of the internet service provider.
– Since the private cloud is hosted onsite, the customer has control over the hardware, the platform, the infrastructure and resources. This means that the customer has total control over their sensitive data and information.
Higher levels of compliance:
– Due to the fact that the hardware, network and storage configurations are dedicated to a single client, it is easier to attain higher cloud computing compliance standards.
Higher levels of security:
– Since cloud is held within a customer’s data center, high levels of security configurations can easily be made to ensure that unauthorized users can’t access this data center. This is not easy with the public cloud data center.
Disadvantages of Private Cloud
– Capacity limitations while using the private cloud are likely, which may be due to physical (lack of adequate space for the servers), technical (lack of technically qualified staff) and financial (lack of adequate capital) constraints on the customer’s side.
Higher maintenance levels:
– Unlike the public cloud where maintenance costs are incurred by the service provider, with private cloud maintenance costs are incurred by the customer.
Higher overhead costs:
– Private cloud is relatively more expensive due to the capital investment in the infrastructure and human resources, necessitated by the need to have technical staff in charge of the data center.
Which Cloud Service is Right for You?
Cloud technology consulting experts affirm that in terms of pricing, simplicity of use, versatility and scalability, public cloud scores heavily compared to private cloud. The opportunity to enjoy the benefits of cloud computing without having to incur huge capital expenditure and high maintenance costs are the two main reasons cited by those who prefer public cloud.This makes public cloud especially more ideal for business start ups and small businesses
Private cloud is ideal for those entities that would like to exercise greater control of their business-critical applications and data. It is easier to control private cloud through physical measures such as use of monitoring equipment and other electronic gadgets to ensure that no unwarranted entry is allowed. It is also easier for a customer to use firewalls to ward off external threats.
Those institutions that hold highly sensitive data such as banks and security institutions would find it ideal. Apart from security and control considerations, those institutions with large-scale IT operations and high capital at their disposal would still see economic benefits in using a private cloud solution.
Thus, both public cloud and private cloud have strong advantages which attest to the overall benefits of cloud computing. However, before you venture into cloud computing, it is imperative that you consider which cloud service best-fits your needs. As many cloud technology consulting experts concur, there is no one-solution-fits-all kind of scenario when it comes to choosing either of the two cloud services.
It is important to weigh in the options specifically provided by your cloud service provider and more prudently, engage the services of cloud technology consulting expert to assist you in procuring the best cloud service that suits your particular needs.
This article has been contributed by Ashley Jones on behalf of Silicus Technologies, a leading provider of Software Development and Technology Consulting services.