A Basic Guide for Understanding Cloud Models 

When we say basic guide, we mean really basic. There are three cloud models: public, private, and hybrid. Think of the cloud industry as the real estate industry. There are apartment buildings that can house hundreds of tenants, people that own their homes, and a few other options too. As people move around, age, or their needs change, their living situation often changes with them. 

What is the public cloud? 

The public cloud is like an apartment building. Apartment buildings are owned, operated, and maintained by a management company. Tenants pay for the space and the resources they use, but they aren’t responsible for repairing things like leaking pipes, broken windows, or old floors. Tenants don’t have to buy the materials or the labor to make these repairs. They are responsible for what goes in and out of their apartment. They share areas like the mailroom, trash room, or bike storage. All tenants have a written agreement for what resources they are responsible for paying and when payment is due. 

If hardware is like the materials necessary for repairs and cloud maintenance is like a plumber fixing a leaky faucet, then public cloud users are very similar to apartment tenants. Public cloud users aren’t responsible for buying hardware or software, and they rely on a third-party service provider for maintenance. Users share the cloud with other companies and pay for resources as they use them, in accordance with how much is used. 

What is the private cloud? 

The private cloud is like owning your own home. Homes are owned by one person. You can renovate the home to your liking, with specific appliances or structures that suit your needs. You are financially responsible for every part of the home, from the lightbulbs to the foundation, including maintenance costs. 

For private cloud users, they are the only organization on the cloud. It can be hosted in two ways, either on your own on-site data center or through a third-party services provider. Users can fully customize the architecture of the cloud and configure it to meet their needs. Because it is private, users have to purchase and maintain the entire infrastructure. Many organizations justify the increased costs associated with infrastructure maintenance with the private cloud’s superior security. 

What is the hybrid cloud? 

The hybrid cloud is a bit too fluid for a single direct comparison to homeownership. Here are a few examples of what the hybrid cloud could be like in this analogy: 

  1. You’re moving and your belongings are split between places. 
  2. You’re a college student that moved most of their stuff out, but you still keep a few things at your parents’ house that you don’t really fit your new college room (we’re looking at you, posters of your celebrity crush when you were 13). 
  3. Some of your belongings are in a storage unit because it’s not actively being used, but everything else is in your home. 

Hybrid is just that – a mixed-use approach. A hybrid cloud strategy allows your company to leverage any combination of an on-premises environment and the private or public cloud to meet your needs. Data and applications can move between environments as your needs change. You can optimize for cost and put things like legacy applications wherever they will function best, much like how that poster is going to stay in your childhood bedroom. You can keep really important things in the most secure place possible without paying for high-security storage for everything else. 

With a hybrid cloud strategy, you have more to maintain and organize because your environment can be a bit more complicated. But for organizations that want to dip their toe into cloud computing without migrating everything at once, users can test out different parts of their environment on the cloud. This strategy is incredibly flexible and can be optimized for cost and efficiency. 

Organizations of all kinds leverage each cloud strategy. There are real benefits with each that fully depend on your organizational needs. The cloud strategy for an organization that needs to meet strict regulatory standards will differ significantly from one that doesn’t. Take a look below to see where your needs are suited best, and check back next month on the blog, when we’ll dive further into how we help organizations choose a cloud strategy.

PublicPrivateHybrid
Benefits– Low cost of ownership
– No maintenance
– automated deployments
– High scalability 
– High reliability
– Flexibility 
– Greatest level of control and security
– High configurability capabilties
– Control 
– Flexibility and scalability
– Cost-effectiveness and efficiency
– Lower cost of ownership
– High reliability
Use Cases– Data storage and archiving
– Application hosting 
– On-demand hosting 
– Auto-scaling environment for large applications
– High security, regulatory, and data privacy levels 
– Specific hardware or configuration requirements
– Hosting business-critical data and applications 
– Low latency workloads
– Companies with seasonal spikes in demand
– Test deployments on the cloud before fully migrating
– Extending data center needs
– Migrate enterprise applications suited for the cloud, keep legacy applications on-premises
-High availability disaster recovery