A Tale of Two Clouds: Public vs. Private Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Over the past few years the notion of Cloud computing has gained wide spread popularity. As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, cloud computing is “the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server.” Cloud computing services are offered from data centers all over the world via the Internet. These interconnected data centers are referred to as the “Cloud”.

You may think of a good analogy for Cloud computing as an electricity grid. Both rely on the sharing of resources, converged infrastructure, and economies of scale.

There are three basic types of Cloud Service Models:

  1. (SaaS Model): Software-as-a-service provides complete applications to a Cloud’s end user and remains the main driver of Cloud computing deployments.
  2. (IaaS Model): Infrastructure-as-a-service involves using shared hardware to support IT operations including:  storage, hardware, servers and network components. These are virtualized hardware resources designed to reduce cost and add flexibility for faster deployments. (See our previous Sunlight post on IaaS here.)
  3. (PaaS Model): Platform-as-a-service is used for development and provisioning Cloud applications. PaaS allows developers to build and deploy web applications on a hosted infrastructure.

The below graphic displays the 3 types of Cloud Service Models:

Cloud Service Models

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia “Cloud Computing”

The Public Cloud

The Public Cloud consists of applications, storage, and other resources which are made available to the general public by a business or service provider. These services are free or offered on a pay-per-use model and are accessed via the Internet (direct connectivity is not offered). Public cloud service providers such as Salesforce.com, Amazon, and Apple have significantly contributed to the popularity of cloud computing. With ease of use and growing popularity of the public cloud, revenues at many companies including these have skyrocketed:

    • Salesforce.com posted $3.05 billion in total revenue (Fiscal Year 2013 ending January 31, 2013)
    • Amazon.com Inc. had revenues for the full year 2012 of $61.1 billion
    • Apple Inc. had revenues for the full year 2012 of $156.5 billion

A username, password, and credit card is all you need to access Apple’s Public Cloud Service to purchase and download iBooks, pictures, movies, and iTunes music via the Internet. The data is downloaded from Apple’s servers to the hard drive on your computer or mobile device. As the end-user you are able to access your music, movies, books, and pictures as often as you like from various devices using Apple’s application software.

The Private Cloud

A private cloud is a fully secure infrastructure where an organization’s virtual environment runs on dedicated hardware that is specific to that organization only. The hardware is not shared with any other external organization. Virtualization, or pooling of computing (processor and memory), storage, networking, and software resources within the organization’s private cloud, delivers greater utilization and efficiency. Private clouds allow businesses to host applications in the cloud, while addressing concerns regarding data security and control (often lacking in a public cloud environment). There are two types of private clouds:

  1. On-Premise Private Cloud: An on-premise private cloud is hosted within an organization’s own facility providing complete control of the infrastructure and security.
  2. Externally Hosted Private Cloud: An externally hosted private cloud is hosted by a 3rd party provider specializing in cloud infrastructure. In this case, control is passed to the 3rd party vendor.

Private vs. Public Cloud Computing

Essentially, cloud computing is revolutionizing the way companies conduct and operate business. Goods and services can be purchased via the Internet from anywhere in the world, at any time, day or night. Moreover, businesses are increasing efficiency via resource virtualization and protecting their mission critical data by implementing highly secure private clouds. Today, successful organizations are using a hybrid combination of Public and Private Cloud computing, to prevent hackers from obtaining customer’s personal data and protect the organization’s mission critical data.

Whether an organization chooses a public or private cloud, or a combination of both, ultimately it is critical that the organization implement the appropriate level of data security to safeguard consumer’s private information.

Otherwise, they run the risk of losing the public’s confidence in cloud computing.


About Jim Brown
Mr. Brown has fifteen years of outside sales experience in the telecommunications industry. Mr. Brown holds a BS in Business and is an Account Manager for Sunesys.

2 Responses to A Tale of Two Clouds: Public vs. Private Cloud Computing

  1. Funny, we used to call these things intra and extranets. Then along came this thing called the internet which few people can properly define, let alone understand its commercial origins. We’ve been in a 170 year digital information revolution which was waylayed in 1913 and resumed in 1983. In this revolution we are seeing a constant battle for processing between edge and core, software and hardware, switching and transport, etc… It’s fun stuff to watch. But more importantly, it’s also useful to help model what lies ahead. I call it centralized hierarchical networking: http://bit.ly/1bSwmlm

    • Jim Brown says:

      The commercialization and mass acceptance of the Internet has led to a cultural and Industrial revolution. In 2013, the worldwide public cloud service market will total $131 billion. Social networking via the Internet is changing the way we communicate here at home and across the globe. In addition to public cloud services, private clouds are allowing enterprises to take advantage of virtualization i.e enhanced security, cost savings, and scalability.

      Today’s public and private cloud services are an evolutionary adaptation from yesterday’s intra and extranet networks. The technological advances of tomorrow will certainly change the world in ways we can only imagine today.

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