Public vs. Private Cloud: Cloud Deployment Models

The advantages of migrating to the cloud are manifold. Capabilities like greater agility, higher resilience, and lower costs enable businesses to get ahead of the curve. As organizations transition from a legacy model to an “as-a-service” model, choosing an appropriate cloud deployment model that best fits their business needs is the next step.

Cloud deployment is the process by which workloads are placed in the cloud. They provide a framework for the implementation of XaaS (anything as a service) to be made available to users on-demand. With a greater acceptance of cloud computing, several deployment models have appeared on the scene. The most popular are public, private, hybrid, and multi (cloud), with cloud deployment done by either a cloud service provider (CSP), an organization, or a mix of both. 

However, to clearly understand the deployment options, customers must first know what differentiates one model from another and then leverage the most appropriate one for their needs. 

Why Do We Need Different Deployment Models?

Karl Adriaenssens, office of the CTO at GCSIT, says, “While the technologies underpinning a private and a public cloud are very similar, the use cases of their specific implementation are very different. Public cloud is very strong in areas of scalability and offloading operational tasks from internal infrastructure teams, whereas a private cloud is preferred where security control is needed or where latency makes the public cloud problematic.” 

So, while “both public and private cloud infrastructures are viable deployment options, modern organizations must balance the virtues of each model when making decisions.” 

Raymond Chan, sales engineer cloud, at Tufin, says, “The characteristics of private cloud are appealing to many who want more ‘hands-on’ control of their computing resources while the increasingly sophisticated services offered by public cloud vendors (e.g., ML, search, serverless) make it well-suited for enterprise workloads.”

Everybody’s business needs are different. Therefore, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach to cloud deployment. Read on to learn about the key differences between the public and private clouds and how hybrid clouds fit into the discussion.  

Also read: What is Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)?

What is a Public Cloud?

A public cloud is a cloud deployment model where everything right from servers to storage is owned and operated by third-party vendors with services delivered over the internet. They are popular because they require no significant capital expenditure on the user’s part, resulting in substantial cost savings.

It is necessary to specify here that, since servers are deployed in a multitenant environment, the computing services are shared among different users. As a result, the customer pays for only the services used. 

“In a public cloud environment, you will typically ‘pay as you go,’ only paying for the resources that you need, as well as provide automatic resource scaling that isn’t limited to a fixed set of resources,” says Jeremy Couser, development manager at Nuspire. “Many of the public cloud providers also maintain robust security features as well to ensure highly secure, redundant segmentation of customer data.”

With worldwide spending on the public cloud expected to reach 482 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, public clouds seem to be a preferred option for businesses with low cloud security concerns. Popular public cloud solutions are the hyper scalar trio of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform

Advantages 

  • Lower costs. In a public cloud, the consumer only pays for what they consume. Since a third-party vendor handles infrastructure, users don’t have to spend on CAPEX, thus lowering their overall costs. 
  • Very reliable. With availability zones and redundant data centers spread worldwide, public clouds serve users 24/7. If there is a breakdown in one region, the user is still assured of uninterrupted service, making the public cloud an extremely reliable option.          
  • Highly Scalable. Scaling on-premises often requires prior capacity planning and also incurs additional costs. The public cloud provides for automated scaling, where applications automatically scale up and down in response to changes in demand.    
  • Secure. When businesses migrate to the public cloud, it is the responsibility of the CSP to protect them from cyberattacks. Even so, with Gartner reporting  99% of cloud security failures to be the customer’s fault, cloud users should understand that security is a shared responsibility and not just that of the vendor.  

Also read: Managed Cloud Services for SaaS Companies

Disadvantages

  • Less control. In the public cloud, the consumers are at the mercy of the CSP. For example, if the end-user has not factored in redundancy and there is an outage, they have no choice other than to wait for the restoration of services.  
  • Regulatory Issues. When using the public cloud, users are often unaware of where their information lives. Deploying workloads in the wrong geographical location can cause compliance issues and invite regulatory fines. 
  • Security concerns. One of the biggest disadvantages of a multitenant environment is its susceptibility to external attacks by malicious co-users, which puts sensitive data at risk. Further, for companies that need to meet strict compliance standards, a multitenant environment might be a concern.

What is a Private Cloud? 

A private cloud is probably the best option if you want more control over your data and infrastructure. It can be set up on-premises or managed by a third-party CSP for singular use by an organization. Because of its single-tenant environment, each user’s data is isolated from other users, enabling enterprises to achieve significant network isolation of vital data. Businesses with mission-critical operations often prefer the private cloud for the greater control it offers over their environment.

“Public cloud is still not geographically ubiquitous,” says Adriaenssens. “While the technology and geographic coverage are steadily getting better, we still can’t ignore the speed of light constraints and the resulting latency. For that reason, there is still a huge opportunity for private cloud deployments.”

Advantages

More Control. One of the key advantages of a private cloud is having greater control over your infrastructure. The private cloud can be on-premises, or a third-party CSP can host it, but no matter what, resources are for exclusive use by the enterprise.  

More Secure. Another benefit of the private cloud is the security it offers. Instead of accessing data over an unsecured internet like in the public cloud, teams can access the data only by highly secured and confidential links that belong exclusively to the organization.

Highly Adaptable. There is no scope for customization in the public cloud, whereas the private cloud is highly adaptable to individual organizations’ infrastructure requirements.

Disadvantages

Higher costs. Compared to the public cloud, CAPEX and OPEX costs are relatively high in the private cloud. It is because enterprises have to make upfront capital expenditures to keep the private cloud running. Besides, they need to employ cloud architects to set up and provide cloud infrastructure, which adds to the costs.

Difficult to Scale. Although private clouds allow for scaling, they are inherently confined to the limited infrastructure that the organization manages. It is in stark contrast to the public cloud, where you can use unlimited compute resources and scale according to evolving requirements.

Also read: Managing Security Across MultiCloud Environments

Benefits of the Hybrid Cloud 

To benefit from both, many organizations use a combination of public and private clouds, called a hybrid cloud. A hybrid model grants enterprises increased flexibility to deploy workloads in private or public clouds as per their shifting requirements. A firm can thus save highly sensitive information on a private cloud while concurrently leveraging the public cloud to store less vital data.

The hybrid cloud, which was valued at $56 billion in 2020, is expected to grow to $145 billion in 2026. Moreover, a worldwide survey of cloud decision makers and users revealed that 82% of the respondents have opted for a hybrid cloud in their organization, showing the increased acceptance of the hybrid model among cloud users.

“Going forward, it is reasonable to expect that most innovative organizations will adopt a hybrid approach,” Chan says. “They will utilize private cloud resources for workloads whose compute and storage resource requirements are relatively non-elastic (or those managing sensitive data in regions where data residency may be of concern) and public cloud infrastructures for workloads with highly elastic compute resources. 

“But in such hybrid public/private environments, it is essential organizations must utilize a security policy orchestration solution that supports on-prem, private, and public cloud technologies to ensure consistent security policies are enforced across the heterogeneous environment.”

Migrating to the cloud is a significant step for enterprises. A successful cloud migration strategy entails deploying a suitable computing model for one’s business that helps in improved cloud management and leads to better business outcomes.

Read next: Effective Cloud Migration Strategies for Enterprise Networks

Susnigdha Tripathy
Susnigdha Tripathy is a full-time professional writer and editor who presently lives in Singapore. She has over ten years of experience writing, editing, and delivering exceptional content for her clients. She currently writes for Virtasant, a cloud technology company, and Krista Software, a provider of intelligent automation solutions. Her work also gets published on several high-ranking tech websites.

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