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Public, Private, Hybrid: Which Cloud Is Best for You?

Jun 28, 2017 by Kitty Lai

Continuing on from our last blog on different cloud types, we will now discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each cloud model for your organization.

 The Public Cloud

The benefits of the public cloud can’t be denied; it’s low cost, managed infrastructure is hugely appealing to organizations, and the lack of on-site servers to maintain removes a huge burden from internal IT teams. Many IT teams are apprehensive of the public cloud because they think it is less secure than other cloud types or on-premises options. While there have been high-profile issues in the past, the public cloud is beginning to be known for its cutting-edge security developments, features and improvements, rather than ‘incidents’: it’s no coincidence that cloud based security services have increased dramatically since last year. This can be attributed to a steady increase in enterprise adoption of public cloud solutions – take Microsoft Azure as an example: in the past few months alone large companies like GeicoASOS, Marc Jacobs and Geekwire have all successfully adopted the platform.

The Advantages of the Public Cloud:

  • There’s no need for physical hardware, which means a reduction in cost.
  • The service is offered, and managed by a host, so there’s no need for maintenance costs on the organization’s part.
  • The pay as you go system is a fantastic way to reduce costs, and you are guaranteed to ‘get what you paid for’.
  • For organizations with fluctuating data storage needs, the public cloud is a fantastic option: data storage in the cloud is easily expandable and inexpensive.

The Disadvantages of the Public Cloud:

  • Since the public cloud is managed by a third-party provider, the wellbeing and maintenance of the system is out of your control, and this also limits any customization.
  • The core infrastructure is shared between clients, and your organization has little control over the environment.
  • The public cloud works through internet connection; the data transfer rate is limited, and is at the mercy of the internet service provider.
  • Public cloud is less secure than other cloud models, so organizations may not want to store sensitive information in this location.

The Private Cloud:

While the public cloud has its benefits, organizations rarely employ their entire application collection in this environment. In fact, it’s easier for an organization that is on-premises to move to the private cloud than the public cloud. The private cloud is particularly attractive for organizations who have specific features in legacy applications that restrict other applications from functioning well in the public cloud.

The Advantages of Private Cloud:

  • You can use any compatible operating systems and applications, as well as divide resources as you see fit.
  • As private clouds are dedicated to a single tenant, there’s greater security for highly sensitive information.
  • A private cloud is deployed in an organization’s private intranet, which ensures better overall performance.
  • There’s a much higher degree of flexibility and customization with the private cloud because all the hardware, network and storage management is up to you.
  • It’s possible to have your private cloud services managed by a services provider, meaning that your all your needs (servers, storage, network, and application infrastructure) are taken care of for you.

The Disadvantages of Private Cloud:

  • It’s expensive! The cost of a private cloud is driven up by companies with security concerns and regulations. Small to medium sized companies with smaller budgets are often priced out of this option.
  • If you choose to have the private cloud on-premises (instead of using a third-party provider to host it) your own IT team is responsible for managing it. Having a private cloud configured in this way could result in the same management, maintenance and cost requirements that you currently face.

The Hybrid Cloud

Enterprise architecture is often so complex that a single solution of private or public cloud isn’t enough, so hybrid is the best solution. In this scenario, enterprises wanting to explore scalability and to test out applications in the public cloud can do so while critical data and other sensitive information is kept in the private cloud.

If you experience any hesitancy from your IT teams when it comes to the public cloud and sensitive data, it’s often easier to get buy-in for cloud experimentation with a hybrid approach, rather than full scale adoption.

The Advantages of the Hybrid Cloud:

  • Hybrid clouds help companies extend their infrastructure, which will in turn reduce their set-up costs for the private cloud.
  • The initial costs and investments are low.
  • Due to the addition of public cloud services, the pay-as-you-go model still partially

The Disadvantages of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Naturally, the network complexities and data transfers between public and private networks mean complex architecture, which requires a skilled approach to maintenance and management.
  • For both private and public cloud, organizations must ensure that they are compliant with any and all set regulations or internal IT policies.
  • Compatibility across infrastructure can prove difficult with hybrid clouds. With different cloud types the dual management process can be complex, and raises the question: could you manage both using the same tools, or will you need to learn new tools to effectively cater to both?
  • The responsibility of fixing problems falls on the shoulders of the internal IT team. Hybrid clouds are only as strong as the people behind them, so frequent monitoring and testing is required, with subsequent decisions on how to further push the application left up to you.

 The Debate: What Do the Experts Say?

There’s no doubt that the cloud is the way to go, but expert opinions on which you should choose can vary wildly. Some experts like to pit The Public Cloud vs Private Cloud, stating that the public clouds are in fact more secure than private. Others point to the hybrid cloud and the unmistakable growth in hybrid strategies,  with some even going so far to say that this year will be the year of the hybrid cloud.

With so many conflicting opinions, your choice of cloud type should come down to your specific business needs. It’s helpful to know that the majority opt for the hybrid cloud, but ultimately, the team behind organizing infrastructure is always far more important.