Public vs Private Cloud: Key Differences Explained

Comparing Public vs Private Cloud Featured img BDCC

Many enterprises prefer cloud adoption over managing their on-premises infrastructure or physical data centers. With leading public cloud providers like Azure or AWS, many are already benefiting from the scalability and flexibility of public cloud services. But did you know there are other cloud deployment models, like private cloud and hybrid cloud?

If you are planning your cloud adoption strategy, you must know what a public cloud is and how it differs from private or hybrid cloud deployments. Otherwise, selecting a suitable cloud deployment model for your business infrastructure might take much work. So, what differentiates the public cloud from the public cloud? We’re about to explain that!

What Is A Public Cloud?

Cloud service providers like Google, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon host public clouds. The CSP provides fully managed cloud services in public cloud deployment, including infrastructure, platform, and software-related services.

Multiple organizations can use the same cloud service provider and access dedicated public cloud resources online. You can pick any public cloud provider and allow the third party to host your infrastructure over the cloud while they take care of your resources in their dedicated data centers. So, why are many of today’s enterprises selecting public clouds? Let’s discuss that!

What Are The Advantages Of Using Public Cloud?

  • Affordable Pricing Plans: Most public cloud providers accept payment based on resource usage or service consumption. So you don’t make any upfront payments!
  • Diverse Service Offerings: You can choose any available infrastructure or platform services like databases, storage, virtual machines, etc. You will be billed later that month or year, depending on the services you pick.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: When sudden demand rises, or your applications require more computing power, you can scale up the resources. Public clouds offer features like autoscaling and disaster recovery, giving you enough flexibility.
  • Service Reliability: Even though multiple organizations use the same public cloud, you have your cloud environment with a dedicated organizational subscription. Your cloud environment remains in control, so you need not worry about security or information privacy.

What Is A Private Cloud?

Unlike a public cloud, private clouds are exclusive to a particular organization. You get a dedicated cloud environment with exclusive services for your use only! You can have your data centers or choose a VPS hosting provider to deploy the private cloud environment.

With a private cloud, you gain more control over the environment and become responsible for maintaining cloud resources. Some popular private cloud providers include IBM, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

What Advantages Do Private Clouds Offer?

  • Complete Control: Private cloud owners control the cloud environment and resources.
  • Highly Secure: Private clouds are much more secure than public clouds, as only authorized users can access the cloud environment.
  • Customization Flexibility: As the private cloud owner, you can plan future deployments and optimize resource allocation based on current demands.

Despite such benefits, public clouds are still very expensive, as you have to bear the maintenance costs of data centers and server resources. But which is better, a private or public cloud?

Comparing Public Cloud vs Private Cloud: What You Need To Know

Let’s understand the differentiating factors if you are now clear about the basic public and private cloud concepts. Here’s how the capabilities and features of the public cloud differ from private cloud deployments!

Infrastructure Scalability Options

While public cloud deployments provide various infrastructure scaling options, you can set the environment to auto-scale the assigned resources based on the dynamic demands. The cloud service provider allocates or deallocates the resources from the backend without you even intervening!

Conversely, scaling the private cloud is challenging as replicating and scaling infrastructure resources might take longer than the public cloud. Also, you have to manage the infrastructure scaling activities yourself!

Public vs Private Cloud Ownership and Accessibility

A private cloud offers a dedicated environment only a single organization owns for future use. You can set up the server configurations and allocate the desired resources in your cloud environment.

However, multiple organizations can use the same public cloud services simultaneously. The cloud provider creates virtual environments in the public cloud dedicated to different organizations. That’s why a public cloud offers better ownership and accessibility control than a public cloud setup!

Deployment Complexity Comparison

When you use the private cloud, your in-house administrative team performs resource deployments, which can be complex and time-consuming. Sudden downtime might impact your business continuity and productivity efforts, especially if they face hardware failure or system malfunction.

In contrast, public cloud deployments are faster and easier. You can use the service console from the public cloud service provider to create or deploy different cloud resources. The CSP then sets up the environment from the backend and confirms when the deployment is complete.

Public vs Private Cloud: Cost & Investment Comparison

Indeed, a private cloud setup requires significant upfront investment and additional maintenance in the long run. You pay for ongoing operational expenses, hardware equipment, data center management, and more. Hence, you cannot keep spending if you run a small enterprise.

Public cloud offerings work with the pay-as-you-go billing method. You can use a public cloud free tier account and then move to a billing-based pricing model. Thus, the public cloud significantly reduces upfront investment costs. If you are low on budget, you can choose a cost-effective cloud service provider with flexible pricing options.

Comparing Security & Performance Reliability

If you can invest in high-quality hardware for the private cloud, it can offer your business superior performance and reliability. However, you must supervise the physical security of the data centers and hardware resources you purchase.

In public clouds, the service provider is accountable for maintaining data center security, which becomes a shared responsibility between you and the CSP. While the service provider manages the physical resources, you’re responsible for imposing security policies to protect your cloud infrastructure.

Public vs Private Cloud: Which One Is Right For You?

Finally, it’s time to choose your cloud deployment model. Otherwise, a wrong decision can lead to increased maintenance expenses, compliance issues, and inefficient resource allocation. So, hover through the use cases to confirm which cloud model properly aligns with your cloud strategy!

When Should You Pick Public Cloud?

  • When you need to scale resources to handle variable workloads quickly
  • For cost-effective solutions with pay-as-you-go pricing models
  • If you require global accessibility and high availability
  • When your applications do not have stringent compliance requirements

When Should You Pick Private Cloud?

  • Handling sensitive data requires strict compliance and security measures
  • When you require control over server configurations and infrastructure resources
  • If your applications demand high performance and low latency
  • For customized workloads tailored to specific business requirements.

You can now pick any of the private and public clouds. Remember that public clouds are suitable for almost every use case. However, private clouds are ideal for large organizations with existing geo-located data centers and on-premise infrastructure. Now, the choice is yours!

The Bottom Line: Decide Carefully!

Planning your cloud transformation strategy isn’t just a piece of cake! You must do many things besides choosing between private or public cloud deployment models! If you want to move to the public cloud, you need to select the most beneficial public cloud provider. If you’re going to have a private cloud setup, you have to create an in-house administrative team to maintain your on-premise infrastructure. So, think before you pick the cloud computing model for your organization!


Are there any similarities between public and private clouds?

Even though public and private clouds have differences, there are a couple of similarities, too:

  • Both utilize virtualization to maximize hardware use.
  • Automation tools streamline resource management and provisioning.
  • Designed for high availability with redundant systems.
  • Scalable to meet changing demands.
  • Resource pooling for shared computing and networking.
  • Service-oriented architecture provides resources as accessible services.

Can I use public and private clouds together?

You can use both in a hybrid cloud setup. A hybrid cloud deployment model lets you have different computing environments in a multi-cloud setup. So, you can have the scalability and cost-efficiency of the public cloud while using the private cloud to handle compliance-sensitive workloads.

When is the public cloud better for me?

The public cloud is perfect if you need highly scalable workloads. So, evaluate your workload scalability requirements before selecting a public cloud provider. Also, if you have a lower budget, then the pricing model of public clouds will be a profitable deal for you.

Which public cloud providers are the best?

AWS is the most in-demand public cloud provider, following Microsoft and Google. Other popular public cloud providers are Oracle, IBM, Alibaba, and Salesforce Cloud. Each CSP has unique public cloud services you must explore firsthand before investing!

Are there any disadvantages to using the public cloud?

The main disadvantage of using the public cloud is the multitenancy challenges. Multiple enterprises using the same cloud services may raise security and compliance concerns for businesses needing strict regulatory standards. Many enterprises also need help to deploy consistent security policies for internal and public cloud resources. Additionally, vendor lock-in can lead to dependency on the public cloud provider.

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Co-Founder & Director, Business Management
BDCC Global is a leading DevOps research company. We believe in sharing knowledge and increasing awareness, and to contribute to this cause, we try to include all the latest changes, news, and fresh content from the DevOps world into our blogs.

About BDCC

BDCC Global is a leading DevOps research company. We believe in sharing knowledge and increasing awareness, and to contribute to this cause, we try to include all the latest changes, news, and fresh content from the DevOps world into our blogs.

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