Comparing the Benefits of the Public, Private, and Internal Clouds

Cloud choiceCorporate IT managers have many choices when considering IT infrastructure and data storage requirements: the public cloud, the private cloud, and/or in-house cloud solutions. As cloud solutions have matured, earlier reservations that some had about reliable access and data security have been reconciled, and most recognize the cloud’s many benefits, especially it’s easy access, lower costs, and flexibility.

Companies can use the cloud for the provision of software (Software as a Service), as a virtual data center, or–among other options–as a software platform to develop unique software solutions. Each cloud solutions has its distinct benefits.

The Public Cloud

Public cloud services are offered on a subscription basis. These services are invariably shared by multiple users and are usually used to provide SaaS solutions.

Some of the benefits of this approach include the following:

  • Minimal up-front expenditure that eases entry for smaller companies.
  • Flexible charges based on actual usage.
  • Scalable solutions that can be readily ramped both up and down in response to needs.
  • Minimal IT staffing requirements.
  • Provision of advanced data security management, including data backups and disaster recovery processes.

The cloud has enabled outsourcing like never before. In 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal, it was expected that outsourcing of IT services globally would amount to $483 billion.

Private Cloud

The private cloud differs in that services are not shared and are usually used by large companies as an extension of their own in-house data centers or in place of them. IT services in a private cloud are frequently outsourced but are for the exclusive use of the organization.

The main benefits of a private cloud are these:

  • Possibly, there will be no need for the purchase of expensive IT hardware. Although total costs still have to be carried by the company utilizing the private cloud, this can be on a subscription basis.
  • Companies have full control of access.
  • The private cloud is inside the corporate firewall.
  • Users provide, run, and manage their own software applications using a dedicated in-house IT team.

The real benefit of a private cloud is that organizations retain full control over their IT environment but have the benefit that the facilities are outsourced.

The Internal Cloud

The internal cloud is often also referred to as a private cloud, but in this context, it is taken to refer to a data center that is owned and run by the user. Usually, it is structured in much the same manner as a private cloud.

Benefits of the internal cloud include the following:

  • Full control of all aspects of internal cloud.
  • No reliance on outside agencies.
  • Full responsibility for security and backups.

Although the organization benefits from full control, it also carries the full cost of the infrastructure and typically has to finance the purchase of hardware and software.

Which Solution?

Each solution offers benefits but also disadvantages. The choice largely depends upon the extent to which the organization desires full control over its IT infrastructure against the greater flexibility and usually lower cost of a public cloud solution.

In many ways, the private cloud and internal cloud are very similar, but what they do offer is complete choice when it comes to software selection, control, and customization; with the public cloud, choices are more limited.