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Public Cloud Definition, Scalability, and Rapid Elasticity

The growth and use of public cloud services is one of the most significant changes in corporate computing history. A public cloud is an information technology approach in which on-demand computing resources and infrastructure are maintained by a third-party provider and shared with many companies through the Internet. Public cloud service providers may provide platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) to customers for a monthly or pay-per-use subscription, removing the need for consumers to host these services in their own data center.

The public cloud provider owns and manages the data centers in which client workloads are executed. The service provider is responsible for all hardware and infrastructure maintenance and offers high-bandwidth network connections to enable speedy application and data access. Additionally, the cloud service provider handles the underlying virtualization software.

Public cloud architectures are multi-tenant environments, in which users share a pool of virtual resources that are automatically provisioned and assigned to specific tenants through a self-service interface. This implies that several tenants' workloads may simultaneously operate CPU instances on a shared physical server. However, the data of each cloud tenant is conceptually segregated from that of other tenants.

The public cloud allows everyone to purchase computer resources. Typically, several users share the usage of a public cloud. The private cloud, on the other hand, includes cloud-based services housed on an organization's own private servers.

Gartner forecasts that worldwide public cloud sales will surpass USD 330 billion by 2022's end.

Numerous organizations are migrating elements of their computer infrastructure to the public cloud due to the elasticity and scalability of public cloud services, which can adapt to changing workload needs. Others are lured by the promise of increased efficiency and less resource waste since users only pay for what they consume. Others want to cut hardware and on-premises infrastructure expenditures.

In this article, we'll explain what the public cloud is, how it works, the benefits and drawbacks of the public cloud, public cloud architecture, types of public cloud, why organizations prefer to use the public cloud, public cloud providers, and the differences between the public and private cloud.

What is Public Cloud?

A public cloud is a cloud deployment paradigm in which a provider owns and operates computer resources and shares them with various tenants through the Internet. Public cloud services can be provided at no cost or via a selection of subscription or on-demand pricing models, one of which is a pay-per-usage pricing model.

In contrast to private clouds, public clouds may save businesses the expense of purchasing, managing, and maintaining on-premises hardware and application infrastructure; the cloud service provider is responsible for system administration and maintenance. Additionally, public clouds may be implemented quicker than on-premises infrastructures and with a platform that is almost endlessly expandable. Each employee of a firm may use the same application from any office or branch using the device of their choosing, as long as they have Internet connectivity. Concerns have been expressed about the security of public cloud settings, however, when properly deployed, the public cloud may be as safe as the best-managed private cloud, provided the provider employs appropriate security procedures.

How Does Public Cloud Work?

A standard on-premises information technology architecture may be replaced with an alternate method known as public cloud application development. A third-party provider hosts scalable, on-demand information technology resources and offers them to consumers through a network connection. This connection may be made either over the public internet or a dedicated network. This is the fundamental paradigm of public cloud computing.

The public cloud architecture incorporates a wide variety of cloud computing technologies, capabilities, and features. However, at its most fundamental level, a public cloud may be broken down into the following main components:

  • Scalability
  • Cost Efficiency
  • Resiliency
  • Availability
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Independence from a Specific Location
  • On-demand Computing
  • Resource Pooling
  • Pay per use pricing
  • Self-service provisioning
  • Broad network access

A public cloud depends on a virtualized environment to offer an extension of an organization's IT infrastructure, enabling the organization to host some portions of its infrastructure and services on third-party virtual servers. Different public cloud service providers have distinct advantages and provide a vast array of services and pricing structures. Companies that are contemplating a move to the public cloud must carefully assess their provider alternatives, particularly if they will be bound by a long-term contract. Careful planning may help keep monthly cloud service prices low, but firms with unpredictable public cloud use may find it difficult to avoid paying a great deal of money for public cloud services when consumption unexpectedly jumps.

Because computers in the public cloud exchange data from numerous firms, IT administrators will also need to consider the cloud's security. Encrypting data is a smart approach to increasing security, but if you are utilizing a hybrid cloud, not all encryption technologies are compatible with both types of cloud. When data is transferred between a private data center or private cloud and a public cloud, there is also a security risk.

The last factor to consider is the location of your public cloud provider. In many nations, data privacy regulations mandate that some kinds of data be maintained locally. It is advisable to pick a cloud service provider that is based in your country and can ensure that the servers where your data will be kept are local and compliant with area regulations since these laws change regularly. Additionally, there is the problem of latency; if your data is housed on a distant continent, it may take longer to access than if it were kept locally.

What are the Advantages of the Public Cloud?

The public cloud offers several benefits over on-premises IT:

  • Flexibility: The adaptable and expandable nature of public cloud storage allows users to store and readily access large amounts of data. Numerous enterprises depend on the cloud for data and application backups in the event of an emergency or outage. It is tempting to save all data forever, but users should implement a data retention policy that deletes outdated data from storage on a regular basis to minimize long-term storage expenses and preserve privacy.
  • Analytics: Organizations should collect valuable data storage and resource use indicators. This provides an additional benefit: cloud data analytics. Public cloud services are able to execute analytics on large data volumes and support a range of data formats in order to provide business insights.
  • Practically Limitless Scalability: The capacity and resources of the cloud grow fast to accommodate user demands and traffic surges. Users of the public cloud additionally benefit from increased redundancy and high availability as a result of the providers' several, conceptually distinct cloud locations. In addition to redundancy and availability, customers of the public cloud enjoy quicker communication between cloud services and end-users through their provider's network interfaces, but bandwidth and latency difficulties are still prevalent.
  • Access to Cutting-Edge Technology: Organizations that use big cloud service providers have early and immediate access to the most cutting-edge IT industry innovations, such as automatically updated software and artificial intelligence. Many cloud clients lack the capacity to independently get such access.
  • Cost: Moving to a public cloud environment may help businesses reduce the expenses associated with running their IT operations. In practice, they are delegating the management of these expenses to a third party that is in a better position to do so effectively. Because the cloud provider may optimize their utilization of infrastructure and their earnings by offering their services to several clients at once, the price of public clouds is often lower than the price of private clouds.
  • Management: Other advantages of the public cloud include access to the provider's dependable infrastructure and the abstraction of administrative responsibilities. These allow IT personnel to concentrate on more crucial business duties, such as creating application code.
  • Security: It's possible that many small and medium-sized enterprises don't have the resources necessary to put in place rigorous safety precautions. They are able to outsource some components of their cybersecurity to a bigger supplier that has greater resources since they are using a public cloud service.

What are the Disadvantages of Public Cloud?

While the public cloud offers several benefits, enterprises confront a number of obstacles and must differentiate cloud computing misconceptions from the truth.

  • Restricted Controls: Since the cloud infrastructure is not truly owned by the user but rather is owned and managed by another party, the user has a restricted amount of control over the settings of the infrastructure. Other obstacles associated with the public cloud include data separation concerns resulting from multi-tenancy, latency issues for distant end-users, and compliance with industry and country-specific legislation. There may be concerns over the privacy of the data. It is challenging to install rules such as HIPAA and PCI DSS in a public cloud, which often necessitates the use of a hybrid solution.
  • Cost: The complexity of cloud expenses and pricing mechanisms makes it difficult for enterprises to monitor their IT expenditures. The cloud is often less expensive than on-premises alternatives, but corporations may wind up paying more for cloud services. Expensive data egress costs make it more difficult to adhere to a cloud budget.
  • Vendor Dependency: This is something that should always be considered while using cloud technology. An organization that moves its computing tasks to the cloud will experience cost savings and increased flexibility. However, there is a risk that the organization will become dependent on the services offered by the cloud vendor in order to continue running its business. These services may include virtual machines, storage, applications, and technologies.
  • Insufficient Cloud Knowledge: In the cloud computing business, the skills gap among IT experts is another obstacle. Companies have difficulty recruiting and retaining personnel with competence in developing and maintaining contemporary cloud applications. Without this knowledge, firms are ill-equipped to deal with the complexity of contemporary IT needs. IT professionals who want to fill these positions may improve their career prospects by honing their cloud abilities in areas such as architecture, operations, and coding.

What is a Public Cloud Example?

Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and many more companies are among those that provide public cloud services. People numbering in the hundreds or thousands work together to share resources. The public cloud infrastructure offered by Google Cloud Platform is a component of the public services offered by Google Cloud Storage. Email and the cloud storage provided by Google are both instances of public cloud services. The following is a list of the numerous services that are offered by public cloud providers now available on the market:

  • AWS Direct Connect
  • Microsoft Azure Express Route
  • Google Cloud Interconnect
  • IBM Blue Cloud Platform
  • Alibaba Cloud
  • Oracle Cloud FastConnect

Each supplier of cloud services provides a diverse selection of services and product suites that cover a broad range of service areas. A few of the primary categories are storage, computation, containers, and serverless computing. These categories are almost interchangeable, and the appropriate application is contingent on the awareness of the user. Azure, GCP, and AWS are the only product alternatives currently available. Let's take a closer look at each of these categories:

  • Storage: Block, object, and file are the three primary categories of storage available. Azure Disk is used for block storage, Azure Files are used for file storage, and Azure Blob is used for object storage. These storage options are all accessible from Microsoft. Amazon S3 object storage provides users with six different storage tiers, each of which varies from the others in terms of access frequency. Other storage services provided by AWS include Amazon Elastic File System and Amazon Elastic Block Store.
  • Compute: Google Compute Engine is the name of the service that provides computing power and is provided by the GCP IaaS service. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is the name of the company's cloud infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, and it provides computing capacity for EC2 instances. Azure Virtual Machines is the name of the computing service that Microsoft provides.
  • Container: Microsoft provides a number of services related to containers, including Azure Container Registry, Azure Container Instances, and Azure Kubernetes Service. The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers services such as Google Cloud Run and Google Kubernetes Engine. Container services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) include Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Amazon Elastic Container Service, AWS Fargate, and Amazon Elastic Container Registry.
  • Serverless: Azure Functions, AWS Lambda, and Google Cloud Functions are the most prominent examples of serverless computing service providers.

What are the Public Cloud Providers?

The public cloud provider is responsible for providing the necessary infrastructure for hosting and deploying workloads on the cloud. In addition to this, it provides clients with the tools and services necessary to operate cloud applications, including data storage, security, and monitoring.

There are now three major suppliers of public cloud services: AWS, Microsoft, and Google. When choosing a provider, businesses have the option of going with a big, general-use provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or they may go with a more intimate provider. It is preferable to use general cloud providers for multipurpose cloud requirements because of their extensive availability and variety of integration choices.

Each vendor provides a variety of solutions tailored to distinct corporate workloads and requirements.

  • AWS was one of the first firms to provide scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud services. The firm first introduced its cloud services platform to serve Amazon's retail resource requirements. Since then, it has grown to provide cloud services to people worldwide. AWS provides over 200 solutions for computing, databases, and infrastructure management in addition to sophisticated application development services for AI, machine learning, and IoT.
  • Microsoft Azure is the second biggest public cloud provider and provides the same sorts of computing services as its primary rival, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Azure offers a robust PaaS offering that attracts a large number of consumers. The array of PaaS products for the platform is bundled under the Azure App Service.
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has a smaller number of cloud solutions than the two major market giants, but its user base is expanding and it is always adding new services.
  • Alibaba Cloud was designed to service the Alibaba e-commerce parent business, in a manner similar to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Alibaba provides infrastructure, storage, networking, and more application services. The corporation works internationally but focuses largely on local Chinese and Asian markets.
  • IBM Cloud is an additional vendor choice that provides IaaS and PaaS services. Red Hat was bought by IBM in 2019 to give customers more flexible service choices and enhanced hybrid cloud capabilities.
  • Oracle is well known for its database products, but the company also offers public cloud services. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the company's IaaS product, is an excellent match for enterprises that demand specialized, high-performance computing.

What is the Architecture of Public Cloud?

The public cloud utilizes a multi-tenant architecture for its underlying structure. It is a completely virtualized system dependent on high-bandwidth network access for data transmission. Multi-tenant architecture lets users execute workloads on shared infrastructure and use the same computing resources. A tenant's data in the public cloud is conceptually segregated from the data of other tenants and stays isolated.

The public cloud enables users to share resources while protecting the confidentiality of their data. The architecture of the public cloud is entirely virtualized, creating an environment where pooled resources may be used as required.

The capacity to access a service or application from any connected device is a significant benefit of the public cloud architecture. Because the hardware itself performs little to no processing, very sophisticated apps may be used almost anywhere.

Redundancies are generally included in public cloud architectures to avoid data loss. A service provider may keep duplicated files across many data centers to provide seamless and rapid disaster recovery. It is widely accepted that data stored on a public cloud platform is secure from the majority of threats.

Within public cloud regions, providers execute cloud services in logically independent locations. Availability zones are generally comprised of two or more physically linked, highly available data centers.

Compliance and closeness to end-users guide the selection of availability zones by organizations. Multiple availability zones may be used to duplicate cloud resources for redundancy and protection against disruptions.

What are the Types of Public Cloud?

The architecture of the public cloud may be classified by service model. The three most popular types of service models are as follows:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS): It is a cloud computing model in which the software that is being housed in the cloud is being distributed by the provider, and the user accesses the application over the internet. This model is known as the Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud model. Therefore, it is not necessary for the user to install the application software on their own computers. This results in fewer pieces of hardware, which in turn lowers the expenses associated with maintenance.
  1. PaaS: Using a cloud paradigm known as Platform as a Service, or PaaS, a business is able to build software without having to worry about the lower tiers or the sort of infrastructure being used. The service provider makes available a high-quality setting that may be equipped with version control and is provided to the customer by means of an internet connection.
  1. IaaS: When a company uses the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud model, all of its data is sent to the cloud service provider instead of being stored on-premises. On the server-side, everything from the application hardware to the network hardware as well as the virtualization of the services is maintained. It makes the process of embracing cloud computing easier. Because everything is housed on the server side, this approach is more cost-efficient than others because it reduces the expenses associated with both the hardware and its upkeep. The service model dictates the level of control the user has over various cloud-based components. In IaaS installations, users construct virtual computers, install operating systems, and manage cloud networking setups, among other tasks. In contrast, the cloud networking infrastructure is entirely handled by the provider in PaaS and SaaS models.

There are more service models available, which are more specialized. These include solutions such as Business-Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS), where a completely horizontal or vertical business process is supplied as a mix of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS services.

Another service model is function-as-a-service which abstracts cloud infrastructure and resources even farther than the three primary service models. This is very beneficial for clients that develop microservices. It is built on serverless computing, a technique that divides workloads into discrete, event-driven resource components and executes code without the need to establish and maintain virtual machines. This allows organizations to execute code-based jobs when triggered; the components exist only for as long as the assigned task is running. In this arrangement, the provider is responsible for maintaining the underlying servers.

Organizations may also use a public cloud storage-as-a-service provider. The supplier provides a storage platform with solutions including bare-metal storage capacity, storage objects, and storage applications like backup and archiving.

Why use Public Clouds?

Many enterprises turn to the public cloud as a means to grow their current IT resources on demand without increasing their physical IT infrastructure. A firm may acquire a virtual desktop license as an alternative to acquiring an actual desktop computer. The virtual desktop may be enabled or deleted in minutes and can be accessed quickly from any location.

Since data saved on a public cloud is backed up and available from anywhere, it is also a popular option for storage requirements. There are several sorts of storage plans, and data that does not need regular access may often be kept in the public cloud for a low cost.

The public cloud makes perfect sense for businesses that host applications with periods of high consumption since the additional processing capacity is only required for a brief period of time.

Using the public cloud may help organizations save money in many ways:

Because workers may access and pay for cloud-based resources only when they need them, deploying public cloud-based desktops and apps is often less costly than acquiring physical IT equipment or software packages that may or may not be used and must be maintained.

With public cloud-based services, the cost of maintaining IT equipment is also borne by the cloud service provider, resulting in reduced equipment maintenance expenses.

Migrating apps to the public cloud may be simpler for a small or new firm; businesses with a big legacy IT infrastructure and applications have more to consider and prepare for. However, an increasing number of corporate firms are using the public cloud as part of a comprehensive IT strategy. Consequently, companies may enjoy the advantages of the public cloud while retaining the benefits of on-premises architecture and private cloud choices.

What are the Differences Between Public Cloud and Private Cloud?

If a business requires cloud computing services, it has the option of utilizing either a public cloud (in which the cloud services are hosted by a cloud service provider and shared with other tenants) or a private cloud (in which the cloud services are hosted by the business itself) or a hybrid cloud, which is a combination of the two types of clouds.

Both public and private clouds provide comparable computing, storage, and networking services, as well as scalability. However, the two approaches have major operational and service delivery disparities.

Public and private cloud models can range in pricing, performance, security, and compliance, among other aspects. Since it is mostly dependent on the public internet, public cloud performance might be affected by network capacity and connection concerns. As a localized location, a private cloud may provide more constant performance and dependability.

Private cloud infrastructure is managed solely for one organization. Private clouds are often hosted on-premises, behind the client company's firewall, but they may also be hosted on the infrastructure of a specialized cloud provider or a third party. In any case, the client firm has isolated, exclusive access to the infrastructure.

Private cloud allows a business to take advantage of cloud efficiencies while maintaining better control over resources, data security, and regulatory compliance, and avoids the possible performance and security impacts of sharing resources with another cloud user.

Private cloud computing is compared to owning a single-family house, whereas public cloud computing is compared to renting an apartment or condominium in a multi-unit structure.

The client is often responsible for managing and maintaining the infrastructure in a private cloud, which includes capacity planning to ensure that the available hardware can satisfy current and future demands for software licensing and installation and monitor and enforce security regulations.

Among the potential benefits of the private cloud over the public cloud are the following:

  • Private cloud often incurs more initial and recurring expenditures than the public cloud. However, developing public cloud options such as virtual private clouds (VPCs) provide many of the same advantages of private cloud computing without the same expense or administrative hassles. And emerging private cloud options, such as managed private cloud services in which a third-party vendor installs, configures, and manages the private cloud on behalf of the client make private cloud-like services simpler to use.
  • Enhanced capability to tailor apps and infrastructure.
  • The simplification of compliance with business or government rules.
  • Greater control and security since workloads operate behind the tenant's firewall; nonetheless, total security depends on the tenant's environment.

In general, public cloud is preferable when the following conditions are met:

  • The public cloud provides a benefit in the form of simple scalability. Although the cost of utilizing a private cloud is lower than the cost of using a public cloud (after accounting for the initial investment in the equipment), the private cloud is more difficult to grow. The expansion of the infrastructure may require the procurement of more machinery. If fewer people use the private cloud, the resources, and equipment that were previously fully used become underutilized.
  • To avoid up-front capital expenditures and would rather have more predictable continuing operational expenditures.
  • For unrestricted access to certain resources offered by a public cloud provider.

However, if you have highly specialized security, legal, or infrastructure requirements, you need ultimate control over your cloud environment, and your workloads have predictable consumption patterns, a private cloud or private cloud-like service may be a better option.

These distinctions pertain to the typical on-premises private cloud. However, some private cloud models blur the distinction between public and private computing. Public cloud service companies increasingly provide on-premises versions of their cloud offerings. Azure Stack, AWS Outposts, and Google Anthos are examples of solutions that provide physical hardware or packaged software services to an enterprise's own data center. These distributed deployments function as private clouds that are insulated from the provider's cloud.

Is a Public Cloud Cheaper Than a Private Cloud?

Yes. Private cloud infrastructure demands a substantial upfront investment, in a contrast to the public cloud's pay-as-you-go strategy.

Typically, public cloud pricing is based on a pay-per-use model in which cloud customers only pay for the resources they utilize. In many circumstances, this reduces IT costs since the corporation is no longer required to acquire and maintain physical infrastructure for those business components that are deployed to a public cloud IaaS. In addition, a business may account for public cloud expenditures as operational or variable expenses, as opposed to capital or fixed costs. This may give the organization with more flexibility since operational expenditure choices often need less thorough evaluations or budgeting.

As a result of the difficulty in correctly tracking cloud service utilization under the self-service paradigm, it is simple to overspend in the cloud and negate the advantages. Common cost traps in the public cloud include overprovisioning resources, failing to decommission inactive workloads, and incurring excessive data egress costs. In addition to these cost issues, public cloud providers use complicated pricing strategies that vary by area and service. Failure to comprehend a provider's pricing methodology might result in bill-inflating hidden fees.

Organizations must consider all components of their cloud computing expenditures. This comprises the expenses associated with application migration, resource consumption, storage data transfer, environment management, and maintenance solutions.

Is AWS a Public Cloud?

Yes. AWS, which stands for Amazon Web Services, is an all-encompassing cloud computing platform that is constantly being developed and offered by Amazon. It contains a variety of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and packaged software as a service (SaaS) products. However, in addition to that, it provides a service known as a virtual private cloud (VPC). A virtual private cloud (VPC) is served by a public cloud provider that generates a private cloud-like environment on public cloud infrastructure.

Is Public Cloud Secure?

Yes. These days, public cloud service companies are giving greater security choices to their customers. The automation of security operations requires the employment of specialized personnel who can monitor the system for any anomalies or abnormalities and report them. When it comes to making user data accessible to cloud tenants, the use of stringent regulations ensures that user data is kept secure. Utilization of a public cloud in a hybrid setting is possible to facilitate the acquisition of authorization to access higher levels of security.

Public cloud providers provide a variety of security services and technologies, but cloud security needs care from both the supplier and the consumer.

In accordance with a shared responsibility paradigm, the provider and cloud user share security responsibilities for the public cloud. This framework specifies the provider's and user's respective security responsibilities and responsibilities for accountability. The particular duties of a security agreement vary based on the provider and public cloud model selected. The AWS shared-responsibility model, for instance, stipulates that AWS is responsible for safeguarding the infrastructure that supports the cloud environment, including hardware, software, network, storage, and on-premises facilities needed to host AWS cloud services. In the meanwhile, the cloud user is responsible for safeguarding any cloud-based apps and client data.

Also, The public cloud must be protected against external threats, such as malicious attacks and data breaches, and internal security concerns, such as misconfigured resources and access control rules. The security services and technology offered by cloud providers include encryption and identity and access management (IAM) systems. A comprehensive security plan combines these elements.

Monitoring cloud security is an integral component of the security strategy for threat identification. Security monitoring tools scan and examine the cloud environment's services and resources and create warnings when a possible security risk is detected. Access control is also crucial to the security of the public cloud. Establish robust IAM rules that assign just the required degree of rights. Regularly revise IAM rules and revoke access for users who no longer need certain rights. Multifactor authentication(MFA) is also used to strengthen user verification.

In addition to security tools and procedures, well-trained IT personnel is essential for ensuring a secure cloud environment. Human mistakes are the cause of several resource misconfigurations, which result in numerous vulnerabilities. Ensure that your IT personnel are current on security rules and configuration best practices.