Public Cloud

what is public cloud?
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Public Cloud definition & meaning

Public cloud is a cloud computing service that includes computing services and infrastructure that are managed and provided by the vendor. Public cloud means that the service is offered to multiple customers, unlike private cloud. Public cloud includes PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS solutions. Public cloud services run on remote servers and customers access the service over the internet.

A public cloud is a multitenant IT model, which means data from different users or processes of different applications can be stored and run on the same physical server. Customers can not access each other’s data. However, most large organizations prefer the public cloud for less-sensitive applications and data. While some vendor offers their services for free, some services come with a subscription fee or pay-per-usage payment model.

What are the advantages of the public cloud?

The biggest advantage of the public cloud is that it eliminates the need to buy and manage an on-premise IT infrastructure or software, which can be a huge challenge for small and medium-sized businesses. It is also more affordable compared to the private cloud. Also, most vendors are regularly updating their services to include new features and to protect their users against possible threats.

Another important advantage of the public cloud, since it uses virtualization it can be scaled almost with no limitation. Thus it is possible to scale the solution to meet your needs anytime. The public cloud also offers an advantage to protect your applications and data with backups against natural disasters and outages.

What is an example of a public cloud?

One of the most popular examples of public cloud is Google’s mail service, Gmail. Another example of a cloud storage solution is Dropbox. Users can use Dropbox for free or with a pay-per-usage payment model. Other popular examples are Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. In all of these examples, both the infrastructure and the software are provided and managed by the vendor.

When should I use the public cloud?

There are many different types of public cloud services that meet different needs. It can be as easy as an email service. Public cloud solutions are mostly ideal for end-users and small to medium-sized businesses. The public cloud is an ideal solution for predictable computing needs for a fixed number of users. For example, an organization can use an online backup service to store its files and folders, which would be much more affordable than installing an on-premise backup solution. The public cloud services can also be used for testing and software development environments.

What are public cloud providers?

Public cloud is an umbrella term that covers IaaS, SaaS, and Paas, thus there are thousands of public cloud providers. The most popular public cloud providers are Amazon Web Services, Oracle Cloud, Red Hat, Google Cloud, Heroku, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, Dokku, Slack, Zendesk, Cisco, ServiceNow, GoToMeeting, GitHub, Shopify, Citrix, Linode, and VMware.

Advantages and disadvantages of the public cloud at a glance

Pros Cons
✔ Public cloud is more affordable compared to on-premise or private cloud solutions. Some public cloud solutions are even free. ✘ Although the vendor provides various security measures to protect its users, mostly they don’t allow users to implement their security solutions. Which makes it less safe than on-premise or private cloud.
✔ The public cloud is very scalable, allowing users to increase and decrease the resources to meet their needs with pay-per-usage payment methods. ✘ While using a vendor’s services, the user becomes completely dependent on the vendor.
✔ Public cloud solutions can be accessed anywhere and anytime. Since the data and the applications are stored on the cloud, they are not affected by outages or natural disasters. ✘ Since the data is stored in the cloud, it makes it harder to comply with regulations, such as GDPR.
✔ Public cloud solutions eliminate the need of installing and maintaining the infrastructure and the software, which allows organizations to save money and time. ✘ Although most services allow users to customize the service to some extent, users can go beyond that limit.

What is the difference between public cloud and private cloud?

Both solutions use the same technologies like virtualization and benefit from cloud computing benefits. The most significant between public cloud and private cloud is that while public cloud is multitenant, private cloud is not. This means private cloud users don’t share the resources with other users.

On the other hand, private cloud customers can take responsibility for the management of the service, which requires high technical knowledge. Since the private cloud gives more control to the user, most large organizations with high-security standards prefer private cloud solutions. The most modern approach is to use private cloud and public cloud solutions together, which is called a hybrid cloud.

What is the difference between public cloud and multi-cloud?

The most significant difference between public cloud and multi-cloud is that multi-cloud utilizes more than one public cloud service. The multi-cloud approach enables users to benefit from multiple public clouds from different vendors. Organizations can use multi-cloud environments to distribute computing resources for better efficiency.

Is public cloud or private cloud better?

The best method is the one that suits the needs of an organization. An organization can prefer private cloud to deploy its applications, however, if a public cloud vendor offers a very similar application for a lower price, it would be a waste of money and time for the organization. The most important approach should be finding the ideal solution for the most affordable price while considering security precautions.

In most situations, end-users and small to medium-sized businesses prefer public cloud solutions, because of their low price and they don’t require technical knowledge. For large organizations that give weight to security and employ highly trained IT professionals, private cloud or hybrid cloud solutions can be a better solution.

Which one is private or public cloud more secure?

Private cloud gives the user full control over the data that is stored and the application, which makes it a safer option than public cloud. Private cloud customers can also choose the geographical location where the data will be stored, which makes them easier to comply with regulations. Private cloud solutions also allow users to monitor the users who access the data and the applications running on the server, enabling them to take action quickly if anything unexpected happens.

Private cloud users can also outsource the security efforts to a third-party outsource managed security provider. It also enables customers to benefit from more advanced security measures, such as greater levels of authentication, API-enabled protection, and additional layers of automation.

Is the public cloud cheaper than the private cloud?

In the public cloud, the users share resources and services with other users, on the other hand, in the private cloud, the vendor completely dedicates them to a single user, which makes the private cloud solutions to be more expensive than the public cloud solutions, in most cases. Also, public cloud solutions come with various payment methods, enabling users to pay as much as they use. The private cloud subscription fees are fixed and it may also come with hefty upfront costs.

How big is the public cloud market?

While the pandemic is still changing our work habits, it also accelerated the growth of the public cloud market. According to the reports, in 2020, the public cloud market grew by 24.1% from $251 billion to $352 billion in revenues year-over-year. With 47.5%, SaaS still has the largest share among public cloud models. In 2020 the combined revenue of the top 5 public cloud service providers, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Google, and Oracle, grew by 32% and captured 38% of the worldwide total.

Experts announced that the estimated market size of public cloud in 2021 was approximately 400 and in 2022 it is expected to increase to $482 billion. The experts also state that the compound annual growth rate of the public cloud market will not drop below 15%, which means it can surpass $1 trillion within the next 5 years.


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