Public, private or hybrid cloud: what’s the difference? A comprehensive guide

cloud computing

Ready to make the switch to the cloud with your company? Then the next question is what type of cloud you should choose. In general, a distinction is made between the public, the private and the hybrid cloud. 

Each type of cloud has its advantages and disadvantages. One cloud is not like another. Which type suits your organization best depends on your business, goals, budget and future plans.

Making the right choice is not always easy. To help you with this, we wrote this blog article. In it we explain the differences between these different types in a comprehensible language, so you can make the best choice for your company.

Public cloud

What is a public cloud?

If you choose for a public cloud, you make use of a shared infrastructure. In that case you use the cloud services of a provider together with other customers. 

However, you do not notice the presence of other users. All you do is share with them the hardware on which the cloud system runs. 

All hardware, software and other infrastructure are therefore owned by the provider. You rent the network, servers and storage from an external organization, as it were.

publieke cloud

You also do not have access to the physical location where the hardware is located. The supplier or provider takes care of the maintenance and updates of the infrastructure. You usually pay a fixed amount per month for what you use.

Specifically, a public cloud is a service that is often offered on a large scale to multiple users. Concrete examples of public cloud services include Gmail, Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.

What are the benefits of a public cloud?

The main advantage of a public cloud is that you do not have to invest in your own hardware. The principle is simple: you pay per month and per employee. 

You don’t have to cough up huge sums for IT infrastructure that can only be used partially. This also makes scaling up and down very smoothly.

voordelen publieke cloud

Finally, you do not have to worry about maintenance and updates, if you choose a public cloud. The provider does that for you. The provider can also take care of things like backups and recovery. This saves you a lot of time and effort. 

In a nutshell:

  • Lower costs
  • No maintenance
  • Almost unlimited scalability

What are the disadvantages of a public cloud?

With every type of cloud comes a side note. With a public cloud, you generally have less control over the systems and infrastructure, since they are not your property. This can feel wry to some. 

In addition, you are at the mercy of the provider’s rules for the conditions. It is therefore important to read up on the subject in advance. For example, think about the backup period, which may vary from provider to provider.

Another disadvantage is that you have limited control over the location of your data. For example, you can choose to have your data stored within the EU, but not in which country exactly.

What type of business is a public cloud suitable for?

Public clouds are the most widely implemented. The lower start-up costs and high flexibility play a major role in this. This makes the public cloud especially interesting for organizations with changing needs or rapid growth.

Private cloud

What is a private cloud?

A private cloud is the opposite of a public cloud. You create your own cloud infrastructure. Either in your own data center or in the data center of a provider. 

If you choose your own data center, the infrastructure will be part of your own company. Management and maintenance are therefore your responsibility. In the case of an external cloud provider, he will make a complete server or a protected part of several servers available to you.

private cloud

As a company, you have full control over the infrastructure regardless of where your data center is located: internal or external. It is an environment created exclusively for you and not running on shared hardware. So you benefit from an exclusive cloud environment.

What are the advantages of a private cloud?

The main advantage of a private cloud is that you manage it yourself. You have full control over all aspects of the cloud environment. This allows you to build (or have built) an environment tailored to your business.

Side note: it is often wrongly thought that data stored on shared storage systems (public cloud) is less secure. This is a misconception. In terms of data security, there is hardly any difference between a public and private cloud.

In a nutshell:

  • More ownership
  • More control
  • Tailor-made environment

What are the disadvantages of a private cloud?

Because you benefit from an exclusive cloud environment, the initial investment in a private cloud is fairly high. Depending on whether your cloud environment is physically located in your company’s local data center, you will need to invest in hardware and infrastructure.

nadelen private cloud

Moreover, you are responsible for maintaining the hardware on which your private cloud runs. Regardless of whether it is part of your company or hosted by an independent service provider.

Finally, you are less flexible because you are using a provider’s infrastructure that is reserved just for you. The capacity of your server is limited and making a change is more difficult. As a result, you can’t scale as smoothly.

What type of company is a private cloud suitable for?

Private cloud environments are often used by government agencies, financial institutions and other medium-sized and large organizations for which strict rules apply to storing (sensitive) data. 

Some professional sectors, for example, are required to have their own hardware in order to comply with certain legal regulations. A public cloud environment is therefore not an option for them.

Hybrid cloud

What is a hybrid cloud?

The name says it all: a hybrid cloud combines private and public cloud services. It offers the advantages of flexibility and scalability, while at the same time offering greater control over the infrastructure.

hybride cloud

In practice, this means that you use the public cloud in some situations and the private cloud in others. For example, your general applications – such as an email package – can run in a public cloud, while confidential company data that requires strict security is kept in a private cloud.

What are the advantages of a hybrid cloud? 

The hybrid cloud combines the advantages of both types of cloud. As mentioned earlier, you benefit from great flexibility and scalability. While certain business-critical applications can remain within the walls of the company.

In a nutshell:

  • More flexibility
  • More control
  • Almost unlimited scalability

What are the disadvantages of a hybrid cloud?

With such a customized solution, there is of course a price tag. Moreover, a hybrid cloud is a technical feat. Setting up a good hybrid cloud environment requires a great deal of expertise. There are many things that need to be integrated with each other. 

So choose a cloud provider that has the necessary experience with a hybrid cloud and can help you implement it.

What type of business is a hybrid cloud suitable for?

A hybrid cloud environment is particularly popular with organizations that want to take advantage of economies of scale, but at the same time need to comply with a certain regulatory environment

Highly regulated industries may keep certain (critical) data in a private cloud environment, while other workloads may reside in the public cloud.

Which cloud is right for your business?

To this we cannot give an unequivocal answer. Simply because every company has different needs, requirements and expectations. That’s why we wrote this blog article, so you can weigh up the pros and cons for yourself. 

Do you still have questions or comments about this article? Or would you like to be assisted in your choice? Discover what ASPEX can do for you with tailored advice. Get in touch!

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