Today’s businesses are driven by efficiency and performance more than ever. There is minimal to no room for complacency as competitors are ready to pounce on the slightest weakness they spot. To achieve and improve overall efficiency, Cloud Computing Solutions are a vital component.

Public and Private Cloud Infrastructures

Once a high level decision has been made to implement a cloud solution at the organizational level, it is imperative that due thought is given to the pros and cons of each deployment alternative. Broadly, we can classify cloud infrastructures as:-

  1. Public
  2. Private / dedicated

In this post, we will define the main characteristics of both solutions and also highlight the suitable circumstances for implementing each solution. Towards the end, the post will highlight key vulnerabilities of each infrastructure.

Public Cloud Infrastructure

Let’s kick off this post with the relatively simple and commonly deployed solution which is Public Cloud Infrastructure. As the name suggests, all the hardware running the show is housed at a general location, mostly the Cloud Service Provider itself.

Physical Location

Physical Location

The ancillary storage and applications are also managed from centralized datacenters that are solely owned by the Cloud Service Provider (CSP). The maintenance of all hardware is also the sole responsibility of the CSP. The hardware of CSPs is seldom upgraded as it is a very capital intensive exercise.

Security

Security

In the case of public cloud, the security protocols are designed and implemented by the CSP. There is little to no room for customization as this implementation is at a very large scale. Authentication controls are quite basic and simple in nature. Read more about dinCloud Security here.

Scalability

Scalability

Organizations that avail the public cloud can quickly scale up or down, depending on the need. The scaling of services is quite economical as the billing of public cloud is based on the principle of “pay as you use”. Similarly, if any additional functionality is required, it can be quickly availed for an incremental fee.

Efficiency

Efficiency

As the public cloud infrastructure is simultaneously availed by many organizations, the competition for scarce computing resources is severe. Public cloud providers bank on users availing the cloud at non-overlapping instances. If too many users are on the cloud altogether, the users are likely to face lag and sluggishness.

Internet Dependency

Internet Dependency

The public cloud heavily relies on the internet. Consequently, the overall efficiency of the service heavily depends on the available bandwidth of the internet. Peak usage hours of the internet are bound to adversely affect the efficiency of the cloud solution.

Outages

Outages

As public cloud is linked to the internet one way or the other, it is prone to outages that are beyond the control of CSP or the organization availing the service. Such outages can even affect the processes that are critical for any organization.

Features of the Private Cloud Infrastructure

A private cloud solution is deployed by an individual organization, keeping in view its unique requirements. This is a highly customized deployment and thus, a much costlier alternative. However, the high cost is compensated by certain benefits as well.

Physical Location

Physical Location

In case of a private cloud infrastructure, all the hardware that includes but is not limited to servers, routers and bridges is maintained in-house by the organization itself. A dedicated physical space is required to maintain all the IT hardware.

Maintenance

Maintenance

As all the hardware remains housed within the organization, the company itself is responsible for it. The key aspects of this hardware such as maintenance and up gradation carry both running and capital expenditures. All such costs are borne by the company owning the private cloud solution.

Security

Security

In case of a private cloud, the organization enjoys full control over security protocols. A custom cloud security policy can easily be designed and implemented across the organization. Further, the accessibility controls can also be tailored to the individual needs of the organization.

Scalability

Scalability

It is an area of concern for the private cloud. As the hardware is sourced in-house, it is virtually impossible to scale down the capacity that is already installed. Scaling up is also a lengthy and costly affair as it involves procuring additional hardware which entails Capital Expenditures.

Integration and Compatibility

Integration and Compatibility

In case of private cloud, integration of the newly added hardware into the existing ecosystem also poses security and compatibility related challenges. The hardware in the IT industry is highly prone to obsolescence and the pace at times is mind boggling.

IT Workforce

IT Workforce

Another aspect of running a private cloud infrastructure is that the organization will have to maintain a decent sized IT workforce that will keep the hardware in optimal working conditions. All technical issues and bottlenecks will also be taken care of by this in-house team of IT professionals and technicians.

Efficiency

Efficiency

A private cloud implementation is a highly dedicated solution. This feature makes it highly efficient in terms of processing power and minimal to no lag times. The resources are fully at the disposal of the organization, even when not in use. A private cloud solution is super-fast and efficient.

Dependence on Internet

Dependence on Internet

Generally, a private cloud will run on the company’s intranet. It implies that its reliance on the internet is virtually zero. Therefore, such an implementation if fully immune from the unscheduled and unexpected outages of the internet.

Conclusion

It is not about picking a clear winner when it comes to a public or private cloud. What’s important is that which solution will best serve the needs of the organization, within the available resources.

The timeline and magnitude of the costs associated with each infrastructure also need to be thoroughly considered before zeroing in on any specific option.

In some extraordinary cases, it may even be prudent to implement a hybrid solution which is a mix of both. Simply put, leave the simple organizational processes for the public cloud and let the private cloud do the heavy lifting for your organization.

Another way to visualize this infrastructure is to execute the simple, non-proprietary processes on the public cloud. When it comes to highly complex and specialized organizational processes that are unique to the organization, execute them on the private cloud.