Public and private clouds each have their own benefits and drawbacks. As with most technology, the right choice is almost entirely dependent on the use case. What are you trying to accomplish? What is critical and what can be compromised when weighing another benefit?
In many cases, there is no single right answer. In all cases, however, there is an answer that is best for your business or the business outcomes you desire.
Public vs Private
Public cloud services are highly scalable, flexible, and generally cost-effective. They offer greater performance than private clouds. Public clouds can also be accessed easily from anywhere with an internet connection. This makes them ideal for businesses that need to streamline their operations or maintain a global presence.
However, public clouds are often not as secure as private clouds. They also pose data sovereignty and privacy concerns for organizations that must meet specific compliance requirements or that handle sensitive customer information.
Private cloud services offer greater security, customization, and control than public clouds. However, they can be more expensive to set up and maintain than public cloud services, making them less ideal for small businesses or those with limited budgets.
In this article, we will examine the foundational advantages and disadvantages of the most common types of cloud deployments. This understanding can serve not just to educate the uninformed but also to provide guideposts for future decision-making as your business evolves over time.
Public and Private Cloud Advantages and Disadvantages
Public cloud performance is hard to equal with a private cloud. Providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google invest in cutting-edge architecture and hardware. This makes their cloud offerings superior to most any private cloud. The resource advantages baked into the public cloud offerings of these large enterprises can be leveraged by customers large and small.
Conversely, building a cloud on your own is unlikely to match the same performance as a public cloud provider. Your resources both in human and invested capital will be a fraction of what the “big three” allocate to their public cloud offerings. Further, with full-time teams of talented engineers working around the clock to improve cloud deployments, the public cloud is an easy choice if performance is your primary or only concern.
Whereas the public cloud is known for performance, the private cloud is known for security. Whether you’re concerned about data privacy or regulatory guidelines, there is a private cloud option that will deliver the level of security considered important.
At the same time, it is important to note that public cloud providers do not ignore security. In fact, these companies combine to spend billions of dollars a year on maintaining security for their cloud offerings. Are there security advantages with a private cloud? Yes, but they almost always align with regulatory and privacy requirements.
Public cloud services are generally less expensive than private clouds. Public cloud providers have massive economies of scale on their side, allowing them to provide more affordable services to their customers. Private clouds, on the other hand, require a larger upfront investment in both hardware and personnel. As a result, they tend to be more expensive in the long run.
Public cloud services are priced according to the number of resources used. This means that you only pay for the resources you need, and you can easily scale up or down as your needs change. This makes public clouds a more cost-effective option for businesses that need to be agile and adapt quickly.
Private clouds can be priced similarly to public clouds. However, private cloud providers often utilize capacity-based pricing, which charges customers based on the maximum number of resources that will be used at any given time. This can be a more expensive option for businesses that need to be agile and adapt quickly. Additionally, some private clouds are paid in full for a period of time (monthly or annually) regardless of what resources are used.
If you are considering building your own private cloud, then capital expenditures and operating costs alike can balloon in a hurry. From servers and switches to physical security and footprint, connectivity, and cooling, the cost of building your own private cloud should make that option a non-starter for all but the largest organizations.
Flexibility and Reliability
Public cloud services are much more flexible than private clouds. They can be scaled up or down quickly and easily to meet changing business needs. Private clouds, on the other hand, are more difficult to adjust. They require more time and effort to make changes, which can be a drawback for businesses that need to be able to respond quickly to market conditions.
Public cloud services are typically more reliable than private clouds. This is because public cloud providers have the resources and expertise to invest in redundancy and other high-availability features. Private clouds, on the other hand, often do not have the same level of resources and expertise. As a result, they can be less reliable and may experience more
Ease of Use
Public cloud services are generally easier to use than private clouds. They come with user-friendly interfaces and require little to no technical expertise to set up and manage. Private clouds, on the other hand, can be more complicated to use. They often require IT staff, or consultants to help with setup and management.
If you are using multiple clouds then a tool like Connectria’s TRiA can provide visibility, access controls, and multi-cloud management from a single tool. Add-on and third-party tools like TRiA can bring public cloud ease of use to different and disparate clouds.
Redundancy and Scalability
Public cloud providers offer high levels of redundancy and scalability, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. All public cloud services are designed for high availability, with multiple data centers and replicated storage. This ensures that your data is always available and that you can scale up or down quickly to meet your needs.
Private clouds can offer similar levels of redundancy and scalability, but it often requires more effort and planning to achieve. You need to carefully select the provider and plan for how you will handle scaling up or down. Additionally, private clouds are not always as reliable as public clouds, so you may need to invest in additional redundancy measures.
The Right Advantages from the Right Cloud Deployment
Understanding which features and benefits best fit your desired use case is key to understanding what is right for your organization. The lens through which you view public and private clouds will determine exactly what is an advantage and what is a disadvantage. What is best for you may not be best for someone else. In many cases, a combination of public and private cloud – also known as a “hybrid cloud” – can be the best option.
No matter which type of cloud solution you choose, Connectria can help you optimize your infrastructure and get the most out of your investment. We offer a full range of managed cloud services, including public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions. Contact us below to learn more about our services or to get started with a free consultation.