Public vs. Private Clouds - Comparison

Posted by Mark Teter, Chief Technology Officer
February 6, 2011

Cloud computing and cloud computing solutions are still fairly new as technology trends go. Each deployment option has its own benefits and subsequent drawbacks. But in certain situations, the benefits can outweigh the risks. Like any technology adoption, you need to determine the right situation for the solution, and then weigh the risks against the rewards.

First, let’s take a quick look at three of the most common cloud computing options.

Private Cloud Computing - When building a private cloud computing solution, you’ll supply your own hardware, and likely co-locate it at a data center. Unlike a public cloud, your data sits protected behind a firewall, so your data exposure is controlled by you. You can scale your cloud by adding hardware (another server) and expanding the architecture with additional capacity. It is typically on-premise or within the walls of your data center provider.

Public Cloud Computing - With a public cloud computing solution, you’ll be connecting via the Internet to a third-party hosted computing environment and pay on a monthly basis – usually per GB and based on bandwidth usage. Scaling is easy since the hardware and infrastructure is managed by the provider. However, your data resides in a public resource, so security measures will be determined by the provider, thus the need to choose your cloud provider carefully and how you plan on using the cloud. Public clouds are most often off-premise or possibly on-premise within the organization.

Hybrid Cloud Computing - A hybrid cloud is just that, a combination of public and private cloud computing environments, where some data resides in the private cloud environment and some – perhaps less sensitive data – resides in the public cloud. Hybrid clouds are usually a combination of on- and off-premise.

In determining which type of cloud computing solution is right for you – public (Amazon EC2 in this comparison) and private (co-located data center) we put together a chart to help in considering a variety of factors. This comparison chart is by no means comprehensive, but can help determining some of the advantages and disadvantages that public and private cloud computing solutions offer. A hybrid cloud computing environment combines advantages and may be the right solution for you.


About Mark Teter Before he retired from ASG in 2013, Mark Teter was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the author of 'Paradigm Shift: Seven Keys of Highly successful Linux and Open Source Adoptions.' As CTO, Mark regularly advised IT organizations, vendors, and government agencies, and he frequently conducted seminars and training programs.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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