Public vs private cloud: what are the benefits?

Information in the public cloud is stored in a data centre.

When businesses look to adopt cloud services they will have to consider whether to join a public or private network. For people who are new to cloud computing then public may be the way forward but it is still worth weighing up the benefits.

To outline it simply, the public cloud is where services such as data storage and software are made available through a provider. Information a company wants to keep in the cloud is stored in a data centre, which is remote and controlled by the provider rather than the customer. An example of public cloud services are those from Azure.

Private clouds are established through a business' IT department itself and all changes are controlled through them. This option is generally taken up by large companies, who have the resources available to set up and maintain a private network. On the other hand, it also has a reputation for being more secure than the public cloud.

However, if a company has little experience in data centres then it may be more cost effective and efficient for them to turn to the public cloud.

With the main drivers of the adoption of cloud being flexibility, scalability and a low cost alternative to in-house hardware, public offers more than private in this respect. Businesses can expand their storage as and when they need it, which is particularly useful if the company has high growth potential.

Additionally, it does not put the same level of strain on a company's hardware that private cloud does. To support a private cloud, companies need to purchase more hardware in the near term and ensure it is adequate to meet workloads.

When making a decision on whether to choose public cloud or private cloud, Dot Net Solutions advised: "Regardless of pre-existing on-premise environments, customers of cloud are typically not in the data centre business, and should be looking to minimise any further investments that propel them in this direction."

Gartner noted earlier this year that businesses are keen to join the public cloud, predicting that spending on this will grow by 18.6 per cent this year. Statistics like this speak volumes about the advantages that public cloud can deliver.