Pros and Cons of Public and Private Cloud Computing, and the Hybrid Cloud Solution
Businesses look to cloud solutions for many reasons: to increase business agility, reduce costs, improve performance, drive innovation, ensure business continuity and quickly scale operations up or down. Choosing the right solution means looking at an organization’s unique situation and technical requirements. But the organization also has legal, financial and strategic objectives to consider when choosing its cloud platform strategy.
Businesses realize that they can effectively manage some portion of their IT workloads on shared servers. This can also cost less than maintaining the hardware and software to house all of its data and infrastructure on privately owned resources. But, depending on their business model, organizations may be concerned about control, data security and legal compliance.
Any combination of public and private cloud storage is known as the hybrid cloud model. While private and public cloud still account for a larger share of a typical organization’s cloud ecosystem, hybrid cloud use is growing.
Here we will outline a few pros and cons of public and private cloud solutions, and the growing appeal of the hybrid model.
What Defines a Public Cloud?
The public cloud enables many organizations to share the same infrastructure. A third-party provider owns, operats and maintains the hardware. Characteristics and benefits of the public cloud include:
Nearly unlimited and immediate scalability up or down
Lower IT capital investment (costs of hardware, bandwidth requirements, applications, maintenance, etc. are covered by the provider)
Capacity for high performance requirements, such as those for apps or media streaming
Some disadvantages to public cloud solutions include:
Concerns about the level of security given the attacks on public cloud servers
Challenges to meeting audit and regulatory requirements with data placement
Limited control over the servers
However, other characteristics also make the public cloud ideally suitable for business uses. These include:
Backup or disaster recovery (DR) for on-premises IT infrastructure or private cloud to prevent loss in an earthquake, hurricane, flooding, etc.
Storing “cold” (older) data not required on a day-to-day basis but that may be needed for other reasons
Space for development and testing for new programs, preventing interference with your existing systems while under development
Storing non-sensitive data pulled from blogs, social media sites, forums, smart devices, etc.
Providing infrastructure for mobile applications (whether for corporate or consumer use)
Making functions that would be impossibly expensive for a single organization affordable for all via economies of scale
What is Private Cloud?
A private cloud is a customized hardware and software infrastructure that a business owns. Private cloud solutions offer these features and benefits (among others):
Controlled hosting on site or at a private datacenter
Greater agility and scalability than a traditional on-premises datacenter
More control over security and sensitive data
Some disadvantages of private cloud solutions include:
Higher capital costs for IT equipment
Higher operational costs for power, air conditioning for the server environment and security systems
Greater demand on IT employees for administrative tasks, and less time for strategic or revenue-generating projects such as apps, innovations, or developing customer experience projects
Often reliant on older technology and lacking the investment in R&D and innovation for which public cloud providers are known
Given these benefits and limitations, private cloud solutions have been the choice of many companies, notably financial services organizations. The private cloud model has traditionally suited use cases for managing personally identifiable information (PII).
Hybrid Cloud/Hybrid IT Options Provide Businesses the Best of Both Worlds
When a company integrates a public cloud with a private cloud platform, it is using a hybrid cloud model. The combination of public cloud with non-cloud onsite IT infrastructure is referred to as “hybrid IT”.
A hybrid cloud model enables efficient data exchange between public and private resources via an encrypted connection. This allows companies to take advantage of the lower cost and greater scalability of the public cloud without placing sensitive data at risk. Additionally, it allows the business to continue using the onsite IT infrastructure for operations without the need to adjust usage semantics or any of the tools employees use to complete their daily tasks.
Hybrid Cloud Solutions Reduce Operational Costs, Support Strategic Innovation
With careful implementation of the hybrid cloud model, businesses can obtain the best of both worlds with respect to cloud deployment. Hybrid cloud allows organizations to leverage the benefits of public cloud platforms without moving all of their data to third-party servers. This provides an attractive blend of flexibility and security.
For example, a company can use its private infrastructure for applications and sensitive data storage, and use lower cost storage space on the public cloud for the majority of other purposes.
Ultimately, this translates into reduced operating costs, which can be passed to the customer while also improving revenue. Businesses can make more of their budgets available for innovations and new applications to offer more competitive products and services.
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