Public Cloud and Private Cloud, What’s the Difference?
How many people know about cloud computing solutions already? With information being spread across the internet without bounds, probably a lot of us at least have an idea of its concept. After all, if we simplify its definition, we would simply end up with the very broad term “internet based service”.
But did you know that aside from the specific types of services offered by these solutions (e.g. cloud storage), there are actually two major classifications of these services. The first one presents cloud computing solutions as a universally ubiquitous internet feature, while the other one specifically defines the user group that is going to use the service.
Defining the Public Cloud
The public cloud is the set of internet-based services, such as software and data storage, that can be accessed relatively easily by anyone as long as they maintain a steady internet connection. In other words, it is basically the set of cloud computing solutions that are made available to the public (as plainly described by its name). This is the standard cloud computing model that we are accustomed to see and hear, and this is exactly the type of service that many people personally use today (Dropbox for example).
Please note that although public cloud services are made for everyone to easily use and access, it does not necessarily have to be free. Owners of the virtual infrastructure may set up different payment methods depending on the general type and purpose of the services that they are offering.
Defining the Private Cloud
In terms of overall structure, the private cloud does not really have any important or significant differences to the public cloud. The term is merely officially used for cloud computing solutions that only a small group of people can specifically use, and is blocked by a firewall to prevent unauthorized access. Private cloud services are well suited for organizations that may want to exercise better control over their own data (as opposed to the “we-both-own-this” method of keeping data by other cloud computing providers)
Most private cloud services offer only the base infrastructure, possibly with an accompanying supporting software to manage the data that the infrastructure is designed to hold. This is in contrast to the public cloud’s method of support for its users, as they do not only provide the infrastructure, but also provide many other integrated options and features that simplify the operation process (and keep their control over their hardware).
The Advantage of Public Cloud over Private Cloud Services
The primary convenience factor that public cloud services have is how simply the services can be used. For example, any user that has a Google or Gmail account can easily access Google Docs, instantly enabling them to have an allotted (albeit very limited) storage space in the cloud to save small document files into. Usage is instantaneous, and you don’t even need to subscribe or register repeatedly to enjoy their services. This is totally unlike private cloud services, where forms, submissions and term agreements have to be first made and settled before you can start building your cloud-based data infrastructure.
The Advantage of Private Cloud over Pubic Cloud Services
While the use of public cloud services is very straightforward (even for paid ones), we can’t deny that we actually only have limited control over our own data. For one thing, the infrastructure and the hardware are still well owned by the cloud computing provider. They also still technically own the data that we have, a fact that puts the risk of exploiting our files into considerable question. This is something that private cloud services do not have, or at least it is greatly minimized. Since the base virtual infrastructure is owned by the client, they have full control over it, and can exercise whatever system they see fit for their online business or organization.
Which is Better, Public or Private Cloud Services?
As for the question of which is better, perhaps the answer can be sought more effectively by asking instead the question “What would you need cloud computing solutions for?” If you have a small business that is only manned by five or less people, then perhaps you can start first from simple public cloud services. But if you have a large company that requires teams of employees and an integrated system that would help monitor and provide them with the necessary working software, then private cloud services may be a more strategic solution.
(Do note however that that there are special cases where public cloud services can be a better choice for larger groups, such as when you are planning to build a virtual office.)
Please contact us if you need help and advice on choosing the right cloud for your organisation’s needs.