Regarding the current use of cloud computing in the corporate environment, there are three most widely used delivery models: public, private and hybrid cloud. The public cloud, our subject in this text, is perhaps the most common and accessible of the three.
Tech-giants like Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure) or Google (Compute Engine) today give the possibility to create virtual machines in their cloud networks to support or even replace physical servers.
Let’s understand what public cloud is, weigh its advantages and disadvantages and know if it is worth investing in your case.
Based on the standard cloud computing model, the public cloud is defined as a type of IT service in which a provider makes resources available to the general public via the Internet. Unlike the local data center, the cloud solution does not require such a robust financial footprint. Network information is hosted on an external server.
This sector is experiencing strong growth. In its report on the global market for cloud services, according to Gartner the public cloud services market is estimated to grow 17.5% in 2019 to total $214.3 billion, up from $182.4 billion in 2018.
In fact, public cloud services draw more on operating expenses than on the capital of companies. In simpler terms, only effective use of service is billed.
Unlike the local data center, the cloud solution does not require such a robust financial footprint. Network information is hosted on an external server. This alternative is great for startups and other companies that want to maintain a lean structure without investing in equipment or physical space.
The hiring of the service is done on demand. This way, you also gain scalability to grow. If there are traffic spikes or the data center reaches the operating limit, simply switch to a more comprehensive plan. Again, it’s a cheaper solution than buying mainframes and routers.
Below mentioned are the key benefits of the public cloud:
Public cloud solutions allow you to evolve at almost infinite speed. This would not be possible in a local data center. Because the division of resources between customers is done dynamically, your business can double or even triple the amount of computing and storage to meet peak demand.
All without increasing your workload or exponentially increasing the cost of the system.
The costs associated with the hardware, applications, and bandwidth are responsibility of the supplier. The payment of the service is usually monthly or annual and according to the usage as it follows the model, pay-as-you-go.
A large majority of IT managers see the implementation of a disaster recovery plan as expensive, complex, and difficult to deploy. But now service providers such as Microsoft Azure provide disaster recovery for all major IT systems without the expenditure of any secondary infrastructure.
Public cloud has minimal risk of losing data as most of the cloud service providers will have multiple back-up infrastructures.
Public hosting makes it easy to adapt at peak loads. Depending on its needs, the client can add or delete resources. This type of service reduces the complexity and implementation time required for testing and deploying new applications.
Cloud computing products undergo constant updates to both servers and security features. Still, the risks of intrusions and possible service instabilities weigh against the cloud model.
However, if properly implemented, they can be as secure as private cloud implementation. Be sure to use the appropriate security methods, such as Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDPS) systems.
Below mentioned are the disadvantages of public cloud:
The protection and privacy of data hosted by cloud providers remain the top two concerns of any major business. Public cloud services offered by any leading vendors are secure but the real difficulty is to use them in a secure way. Companies must indeed adopt good practices in terms of cybersecurity.
There is no risk of intrusion between neighbors on a public network, but misuse of the infrastructure contracted by another company can put yours at risk as a successful attack on the main server opens a breach for each client’s system. But this kind of situation occurs rarely when the provider is reliable and of quality.
The pay-as-you-go model is convenient, but it can be expensive if it is not monitored internally. Left to self-service without cost control, it can be exorbitant.
In the public cloud model, support is a separate contract, and some providers may not even deliver the quality of service expected from an enterprise system. If you bet on a free cloud, for example, you will need to discover many solutions on your own.
In the case of using virtual machines, this type of hosting is not suitable for all environments, including existing systems, for several reasons:
- Some applications do not support virtualization and need to be on dedicated physical servers.
- Some licenses are not reusable. The company must then buy licenses or migrate to a new version.
- Some applications can be very resource-intensive and need to have performance that can only be guaranteed by dedicated servers.
The multitenancy atmosphere of the public cloud can limit or restrain any customization. This can be catastrophic for organizations that have a complex application process or complicated network architecture.
Third-party access to confidential information creates a risk of compromising the sensitive data of the company. The cloud user is responsible for application-level security. The cloud provider is responsible for physical security and probably for enforcing external firewall policies.
In the public cloud scenario, we generally don’t have any idea of how our data is being handled in the back-end i.e. how it is processed to give us the desired results.
Below mentioned are some keynotes, so that you can make the right decision before choosing a cloud solution:
- The operating cost of each model
- The traffic demand of your network
- How often the system should be updated
- The quality of the internet connection in the surrounding area
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