Cloud computing has become an integral part of business today, with public and private cloud representing two transformative categories of this form of network-computing. The operational benefits involved make it critical for emerging B2B and B2C enterprises alike to understand the differences between the two and leverage them.
According to Gartner, worldwide public cloud services market is expected to reach $206.2 billion by the end of 2019, while Statista had forecasted that worldwide enterprise spending in true public cloud market would reach $32 billion by 2018. The increasing dependency on both public and private cloud is further growing at a significant rate; Forrester estimates cloud spending to grow by 20% while Gartner predicts that more than half of the global enterprises that are using cloud today will choose an all-in-cloud strategy by 2021. To decide between the two major forms of cloud computing, it is advisable to first understand a little more about both public and private cloud.
It is the classic cloud computing model which provides users with access to a large pool of computing power delivered over the internet. It is the most popular form of deploying cloud computing, wherein resources such as servers and storage are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider. Hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure are all owned and managed by cloud providers. Hence, the same hardware, storage, and network devices are shared among enterprises, also known as ‘cloud tenants’. Public cloud deployments are accessed via web browsers, which are typically used to provide web-based email, online office applications, and storage and testing. In addition, the usage costs depend on the capacity used, wherein a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing model is adopted.
The drawbacks, however, are that there is no room for customization in terms of both operating procedures and security. The latter includes a standard yet unaltered protocol which cannot be enhanced for different business models.
A public cloud solution is therefore advisable when enterprise growth is dynamic and computing demand fluctuates over time. The best economies of scale must be taken advantage of when businesses prefer lean investments. This is best suited for data storage and archival, application hosting, latency intolerant or mission critical web tiers, on-demand hosting for microsite and application, and auto-scaling environment for large applications.
A private cloud on the other hand, is exclusively owned by single individual enterprises companies. It essentially acts as a datacenter architecture providing flexibility, automation, monitoring, scalability, and provisioning. It can either be physically located at an organization’s onsite datacenter or hosted by a third-party service provider. The hardware and software are solely dedicated to an organization, and services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. They are often used by government agencies, financial institutions, and other mid or large businesses.
Since private clouds are owned and managed by a single organization, it allows businesses to design networks, data storage, and hardware; thereby leveraging infrastructure customization with superior security mechanisms. Critical assets like data and applications are strictly controlled by the single business, and this ensures effective delivery of compliance.
However, only organizations with purchasing power and the ability to maintain such infrastructure and human resource must opt for private cloud. It may be an expensive option, or unviable for small or mid-size enterprises.
Private clouds are best suited for large organizations that need strict security, latency, and regulatory and data privacy levels. Businesses requiring high-performance access to filesystems can also benefit. In addition, businesses with predictable usage patterns while hosting critical data and applications must opt for private cloud solutions.
Both categories of cloud computing offer their own set of advantages and drawbacks. Apart from resources available, companies must consider their revenue stability, and how much data control they seek while opting for cloud services, be it customization or security. Often, companies adapt hybrid cloud – the combination of public and private cloud to meet their business objectives. The ideal choice must therefore be made after assessing all relevant parameters including requirements and capabilities.