Public cloud is an IT model where on-demand computing services and infrastructure are managed by a third-party provider and shared with multiple organizations using the public Internet. Public cloud service providers may offer cloud-based services such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or software as a service (Saas) to users for either a monthly or pay-per-use fee, eliminating the need for users to host these services on site in their own data center.
Cloud service providers use groups of data centers that are partitioned into virtual machines and shared by tenants. Tenants may simply rent the use of those virtual machines, or they may pay for additional cloud-based services such as software applications, application development tools, or storage. Companies often use public cloud services for less-sensitive applications that have unpredictable spikes in usage or for storing data that does not require frequent access.
Public cloud makes computing resources available to anyone for purchase. Multiple users typically share the use of a public cloud. In contrast, private cloud involves cloud-based services that are hosted within an organization’s own private servers.
Public cloud is a cloud deployment model where computing resources are owned and operated by a provider and shared across multiple tenants via the Internet.
A public cloud relies on a virtualized environment to provide an extension of a company’s IT infrastructure, allowing that company to host certain aspects of its infrastructure and services on virtual servers that are offsite and owned by a third party. Public cloud service providers have different strengths, and they offer a wide variety of services and pricing models. Companies that are considering a migration to public cloud need to carefully consider their options when it comes to choosing a provider, especially if they will be locked into a long-term contract. Careful planning can help to keep costs down on monthly cloud services bills, but organizations with unpredictable public cloud usage may find it hard to avoid spending a lot of money on public cloud services when usage suddenly surges.
Because servers in the public cloud share data from multiple companies, security in public cloud is another issue that IT managers will want to weigh. Encrypting data is a good way to ensure stronger security, but if you are using a combination of public and private cloud (also known as a hybrid cloud), not all encryption platforms work across both public and private clouds. There is also an inherent security risk whenever data is moved between a private data center or private cloud and a public cloud.
One last consideration is the location of your public cloud service provider. Data privacy laws in many countries require certain types of data to be stored in-country. These laws change frequently, so it’s a good idea to choose a cloud service provider that is located in your country and can confirm that the servers where your data will be stored are local and in compliance with regional laws. There is also the issue of latency—if your data is being hosted on a different continent, it may take longer than if it were stored close by.
A company that needs cloud computing services can choose to use a public cloud (where cloud services are hosted by a cloud service provider and shared with other tenants), a private cloud (where cloud services are hosted by the company itself), or a combination of the two, known as a hybrid cloud.
Public cloud offers the advantage of easy scalability. Although a private cloud is less expensive than using a public cloud (after an initial investment in the infrastructure), it doesn’t scale as easily. Growing the infrastructure can require the purchase of additional equipment. If usage of the private cloud shrinks, expensive resources and equipment become underutilized.
Hybrid cloud can be a great compromise for those considering public cloud vs private cloud. Hybrid cloud refers to any combination of private and public cloud solutions. A hybrid cloud environment allows organizations to benefit from the advantages of both types of cloud platforms and choose which cloud to use based on specific data needs. For instance, hybrid cloud provides an alternative for storing sensitive data—a company might provide services via a public cloud while keeping sensitive information on a private cloud.
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