Private Cloud vs Public Cloud: Which to Choose?
Cloud computing has introduced greater operating efficiency for organizations with large IT infrastructure overheads. As the various cloud platforms have matured over the past few years security and data privacy issues have shaped the way the cloud is implemented. As a result, organizations planning to move applications to the cloud are faced with the difficult decision of whether to go with a private or a public cloud solution. In this article we discuss eight factors to consider when making that decision.
One of the differences between public and private cloud services is the financial investment involved in deployment. Public cloud services share the hardware with many different customers. The overhead of purchasing and managing that hardware is eliminated for the customer, which results in dramatically lower costs and more scalability.
A private cloud application exists on hardware dedicated to or owned by the organization, which is more expensive than the shared public cloud. Savings can be realized if an organization migrates the infrastructure of several locations or departments, but they aren’t as much as the savings of moving to a public cloud service.
Many public cloud platforms typically place customer applications and data on servers according to availability and performance without regard for physical location. The result is that an organization doesn’t know exactly where the servers running their software or housing a data repository is located.
Private cloud applications are placed in data centers that are dedicated to or directly owned by the organization. This gives organizations full control over where their data is located. Private cloud platforms are more practical if it’s important to keep data inside the country, for example.
3. Storage and Access
Public cloud platforms are designed for applications that are accessible to the internet. While access can be restricted with authentication, the servers are exposed to the internet and can be attacked or accidentally made public. Storage arrangements are on shared infrastructure in large regional data centers.
Private cloud applications can be made available only to an organization’s intranet, making it ideal for internal business applications and storage. The storage can also be managed precisely rather than left to the vagaries of dividing up shared resources between many customers on public cloud services.
The degree of customization available is another major difference between public and private cloud platforms. Public cloud services offer their customers a standardized operating system that’s designed to maximize their utilization and provide a consistent experience.
A private cloud platform, on the other hand, is dedicate to the organization’s needs, so it can be customized as much as needed to integrate with other business systems. A private cloud platform can also be tailored to the performance needs of the applications that it’s hosting.
Public cloud services have strengthened their security as the technology has matured, but they aren’t designed with special needs in mind like data control and retention. Their customers receive the same security protocol without many customization options.
Organizations with special regulatory or internal security requirements often opt for private cloud hosting because it offers full control over security and privacy. They can determine who has access to the cloud servers, where different types of data are stored, and customize the cloud hosting system as needed.
Maintenance and server management is handled by the staff at public cloud services. Operating system upgrades, security patches, and repairs are all dealt with by communicating with their service technicians. This sometimes leads to frustration when mission critical applications are disabled by a problem at the data center, but it also saves customers the expense of having in-house network administrators.
Private cloud platforms are administered by dedicated staff. This adds labor costs, but it also makes it possible to directly maintain integrations with in-house systems and other cloud applications. It also gives the organization full control over the precise configuration of hosting servers in terms of operating system, network settings, security measures, and patching.
If an application needs to scale to unknown levels of bandwidth or user volumes in the future, a public cloud service is a better solution. This is because public services have large data centers designed to handle sudden increases in traffic for public-facing applications and websites. They’ve streamlined their service to handle sudden load changes efficiently.
A private cloud application will be more constrained by the infrastructure included in the initial build of its data center. Adding more capacity to a leased dedicated platform may be possible, but a private cloud owned by the organization will need to be planned carefully. Expanding it later will add to its overall investment cost.
8. Operating Cost
In terms of month-to-month operating cost, public cloud options are less expensive than private cloud platforms. Public platforms spread the cost of hardware maintenance, investment, and technical support across a shared customer base. This means that their customers simply pay a flat rate for the hosting service capacity that they use.
A private platform’s operating costs include the energy and maintenance of operating a data center as well as dedicated technical support and administrators. These costs are offset by the customization and security advantages that a private cloud offers, but it’s important to consider this trade-off.
The Better Way to Migrate to the Cloud
The flexibility of cloud computing platforms continues to increase with the option of public and private cloud technologies. The complexity of deploying enterprise applications to these new platforms can be daunting for business organizations. Experienced IT companies such as Outsource IT can cut project costs and help them avoid common pitfalls during the decision making and implementation stages.
Outsource IT provides IT consulting services to help organizations determine the solution that is best for their unique needs, whether it be a public, hybrid or private cloud. Contact an account manager today to learn more about how Outsource IT can help.