‘Cloud Computing’ is an IT term that you’re probably used to hearing by now and you may hear it being used in some ways that don’t entirely make sense. Google, Uber and Amazon are all ‘cloud’ but very different services. Didn’t Amazon once sell books? The same thing goes for AWS, Evernote, Uber, AirBnB, Office 365, all cloud and all distinctly different.
So what exactly is ‘public cloud’, ‘hybrid cloud’ and ‘private cloud’?
Public Cloud Explained
A public cloud is based on a standard cloud computing IT model. Public cloud is when a service provider (think: Microsoft or Amazon) makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet. Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage model.
See the 6 major IT Cloud Computing Terms you need to know here.
Private Cloud Explained
Similarly, when a business accesses infrastructure that is not located on premise but in another remote location (typically a data centre) it is called private cloud, the difference being that in this instance the company has full control over the data and resources in the remote location. This is also known as infrastructure as a service as they are effectively renting infrastructure to run their applications and servers. Unlike public cloud, if there is excess capacity, it cannot be assigned elsewhere. That’s the limitation of private cloud.
Which means hybrid cloud is…
The combination of public cloud, private cloud and potentially also on premise infrastructure.
This is a practical solution for most companies, where you gain the advantages of virtualised internal infrastructure (private cloud), and augment your capacity with readily available public cloud resources.
For IT cloud computing, hybrid cloud marries the best of the private (security, control) and the public cloud (flexibility, scale, low cost), with the ability to assign workloads to the best option for the task.
There are a couple of points to note for cloud computing:
Public cloud services are well suited to companies with physically distributed offices. However, using public cloud always depends on the availability of good internet connectivity.
Publically accessible services do have a theoretical possibility of interception. However, encryption and other security measures are ‘locked in’, especially when accessing the services of reputable vendors like Microsoft or Amazon Web Services.
Public vs Private Cloud IT
Public cloud is simple to procure: a credit card and an internet connection are all that’s needed (at a fundamental level). It is particularly attractive to small and medium businesses, which can easily procure the cloud IT services directly and without third party assistance.
Creating a private cloud requires professional expertise (potentially including software and additional hardware) to virtualise existing environments. Private cloud tends to be favoured by large enterprises, particularly for key workloads. It preserves existing infrastructure investments and provides a high level of control.
Hybrid Cloud = the Best of Both Worlds
With hybrid cloud, the best of both cloud computing IT worlds is possible. You get to retain control and security over key data and processes and at the same time access additional resources when necessary, such as high-volume month-end periods.
In hybrid configurations, the “clouds” don’t have to meet. Instead, they provide different services to your organisation based on the company’s requirements.
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