Cloud computing has changed the way organizations work. They are no longer completely dependent on their on-premise IT infrastructure as cloud computing provides a range of possibilities that companies can use to achieve business efficiency. Cloud computing can be broadly classified into three categories:

Public cloud: This is shared via the internet and is used across different organizations

Private cloud: This cloud service is dedicated to your organization only

Hybrid cloud: This is an environment that makes use of both public and private clouds

While all three categories have their own advantages and disadvantages, we will primarily look at public and hybrid cloud computing and will see which one is best suited for your organization.

Let’s first find out what is cloud computing

Cloud computing is a means of operation where applications, programs, data, etc are accessed through the internet instead of directly using them through your desktop connected to services over a local private network. Some of the most popular examples are SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Cloud computing is used for a variety of purposes that include data backup, software development and testing, email, virtual desktop, big data analytics, customer-facing web applications, and disaster recovery.

The cloud offers a wide range of technologies, eliminates the extra expense of setting up or scaling IT infrastructure, provides the capability to provision a large number of computing resources, saves time from managing on-premise IT resources, enables faster and more efficient performance, and provides safe data back up and disaster recovery. All these benefits make cloud computing a highly-desired service for organizations across the globe.

What is a Public Cloud?

Public Cloud is a model where IT services are delivered over the internet. These are usually owned by third-party cloud service providers that offer resources like servers, and storage on the internet using a pay-as-you-use model. In this work model, all the hardware, software. and other supporting elements are owned by the cloud provider but offer a vast variety of solutions and resources. It is highly scalable, flexible, and cost-effective.

Public cloud services can be used for:

  • Limited and predictable computing requirements like communication services for a limited number of people
  • Applications and services that are not highly customized and necessary for IT and business operations
  • Anything additional to meet peak demands
  • Software development and testing  
  • Access services such as Analytics, AI/ML, Big Data services which require complex and expensive infrastructure to setup on-premise

Benefits of Public Cloud:

  • No capital investment is required to utilize these services. Public Cloud operates on
  • OpEx model and is highly predictable in terms of IT budgeting
  • Highly scalable and flexible to meet the changing demands of businesses
  • Cost-effective as there are different pricing models available
  • High level of security and regulatory compliance
  • Access to the latest technologies and real-time software/security updates
  • Built-in geographic resiliency
  • Even the smallest business organization can have access to “Enterprise Class” IT with a swipe of a Credit Card

Disadvantages of Public Cloud:

  • Large and midsize enterprises might find it expensive as the total cost of ownership might rise exponentially
  • Little or no customization offered
  • Most public clouds are based out of region so data sovereignty could become an issue. However, this is changing as the big players build regional data centres but even in this case, offerings are limited
  • Provides minimum technical control. The direct touch that one had when data centre was based locally is lost
  • Sending data to the cloud is often free but bringing it back can be expensive.

What is Hybrid Cloud? 

Hybrid Cloud combines both public and private cloud infrastructure environments where resources are arranged in an integrated environment. The workload can be shared between public and private cloud giving your business more flexibility, optimizing your existing infrastructure, and provide better deployment options. In the hybrid model, the public cloud becomes an extension of the on-premise IT environment. For example, mission-critical data and applications might run in the private cloud, and backups and archiving could be migrated to the public cloud or the public cloud might service as a DR facility. Often, organizations run many SaaS applications like Office365 (public cloud), Salesforce (public cloud), OneDrive (public clod) but run their corporate applications on-Premise (private cloud). The decision of what stays local and what goes on public cloud is determined by business requirements, budgets, regulations and availability of technical resources. Many application and infrastructure vendors today offer their products for all three types of cloud.

Hybrid cloud services can be used for:

  • Organizations working on different projects that require varied applications and data with varied regulatory and performance requirements
  • For improved security on existing cloud solutions
  • Fast provisioning of resources for unplanned requirements
  • Selectively choose services for economic benefits but where security and compliance is less stringent
  • Hybrid cloud is used as a bridge or transition phase to full-fledged public cloud
  • Have the best of both worlds. Private cloud for full autonomy and flexibility and public cloud for scalability and lower costs

Benefits of hybrid cloud

  • Can choose the most favorable cloud environment between public and private depending on security, performance, and cost
  • Can utilize the scalability of the public cloud without compromising on the security issue
  • High reliability as the workload can be distributed between public and private data centers
  • Can balance the cost by using public and private clouds depending on the security aspect of different workloads

Disadvantages of hybrid cloud

  • Moving across public and private clouds may make it hard to track costing
  • Lack of strong integration, especially because the public cloud doesn’t provide that kind of robust control
  • Operating through an evolving mix of public and private increases management complexity

So, both Public and Hybrid Clouds provide their own unique set of advantages and challenges, but which one you choose depends entirely on your requirements. Third party experts can play a key role here in guiding you through this decision-making process. Vendors who have been supporting your on-premise infrastructure will have valuable insights on how best to achieve the balance and help plan and execute your Cloud migration strategy. Most integrators who provided hardware for on-premise deployments now carry Cloud based solutions and can offer you a mix and match alternatives that best suit your requirements. Third parties can also offer managed services for your cloud, if you lack the resources internally. Moving from on-premise to a Cloud model does not preclude planning, design, deployment and on-going support and management. The cloud provider typical shares responsibility with their tenants which includes management of infrastructure and security. Just remember that cloud is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Understanding the basic difference between types of Cloud models available is an important first step.