Public Cloud: Everything you need to know
The public cloud is managed by a third-party cloud provider. Public cloud computing resources are shared among multiple customers, unlike private cloud.
What is Public Cloud?
A public cloud is an IT model where on-demand computing services and infrastructure are managed by a third-party provider and shared with multiple organizations using the public Internet. Public cloud service providers may offer cloud-based services such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or software as a service (Saas) to users for either a monthly or pay-per-use fee, eliminating the need for users to host these services on-site in their own data center.
Cloud service providers use groups of data centers that are partitioned into virtual machines and shared by tenants. Tenants may simply rent the use of those virtual machines, or they may pay for additional cloud-based services such as software applications, application development tools, or storage. Companies often use public cloud services for less-sensitive applications with unpredictable spikes in usage or for storing data that does not require frequent access.
It makes computing resources available to anyone for purchase. Multiple users typically share the use of a public cloud. In contrast, a private cloud involves cloud-based services hosted within an organization’s private servers.
How does it work?
The public cloud allows for multiple users to have access to the same resources. This access is granted over the internet. While multiple users can share the resources, each session will be secure and private. Resources are scaled on-demand to each user, and multiple resource centers are available for access. Users are routed to the most efficient resource center depending on their location.
Expect a public cloud to feature:
- Multi-tenant access
- On-demand computing
- Resource pooling
- Measured service
- Data Resiliency
- Around the clock availability
The public cloud allows companies to expand their resource demands as quickly as needed. This is usually done with pay-per-use service, and cloud management tools are normally provided.
What are the pros and cons of using a public cloud?
- Cost savings: Moving to a public cloud is a way for companies to cut down IT operations costs. Essentially, they are outsourcing these costs to a third party who can handle them more efficiently. Public clouds also typically cost less than private clouds, because the cloud provider can maximize their use of hardware and their profits by selling their services to multiple customers at once.
- Less server management: If an organization uses a public cloud, internal teams don’t have to spend time managing servers – as they do for legacy on-premises data centers or internal private clouds.
- Security: Many small and medium-sized businesses may not have the resources to implement strong security measures. By using a public cloud service, they can outsource some aspects of cyber security to a larger provider with more resources.
- Security and compliance concerns: Multitenancy might be a concern for businesses that need to meet strict regulatory compliance standards. Multitenancy also comes with a very small risk of data leakage, which may be more risk than some businesses in specialized fields are willing to tolerate. (In fact, the risk is minuscule; most cloud providers follow extremely high-security standards.) Finally, it can be difficult to deploy the same security policies both for an organization’s internal resources and for a public cloud that is somewhat outside of an organization’s control (especially during a cloud migration).
- Vendor lock-in: This is always a concern with cloud technology. An organization that uses the cloud will save money and become more flexible, but it can also end up reliant upon the cloud vendor’s services – the virtual machines, storage, applications, and technologies they provide – to maintain its business operations.
Benefits and challenges of public cloud
Public cloud solutions allow organizations to scale at a near infinite rate, something that would not be possible in an on-premises data center. As a business grows, it doesn’t need to acquire additional hardware or maintain a sprawling network. Likewise, cloud-based services and applications require far less hardware than applications delivered traditionally. In other words, users no longer have to worry about installing and updating applications on their machines. Instead, their cloud-hosted applications will always remain up to date with the latest features and security.
Financially, a public cloud strategy offers organizations a way to grow at scale without accumulating substantial costs. Providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure offer per-usage deals that allow organizations to pay only for the resources they use. As an operational cost, public cloud services can protect an organization’s budget from high up-front capital investments.
Though public cloud hosts take security very seriously, organizations may choose to protect their data by hosting it on a privately controlled cloud. Organizations operating in heavily regulated industries, such as healthcare, may get the most benefit from a hybrid model. Established businesses with highly specific computational needs may also prefer a private or hybrid model for enhanced optimization of resources.