The Difference Between Public Cloud and Private Cloud Services

There’s a lot of discussion about the “cloud” and what that means in regards to your data storage. We’ve even overheard conversations among business professionals stating that data storage in the “cloud” is not safe, but other solutions where the data is still being stored offsite, are.

Public Cloud vs Private Cloud Services

So let’s clear up the confusion: Whatever you want to call it – when you are storing data outside of your premises and inside a data center, it’s technically “the cloud.” Where the confusion lies is that some private cloud solutions have branded themselves with a proprietary name and are positioning themselves as an anti-cloud alternative. The devil’s in the details so let’s break it down:



Typically a web based application that is accessed through an internet connection.

An application deployed within a firewall and managed by the user or user’s organization.

Usually the service is charged on a month-to-month basis, there are no costs to the subscriber to maintain infrastructure. The storage space may be shared with other companies or subscribers.

Created using your own hardware and using software provided by a service provider. The storage space is not shared with other companies. The architecture is fully-managed by the user, as is the cost for the architecture.

Storage size can be as small as a single laptop to full enterprise. Cost is easily scalable and predictable to storage demand.

Storage size typically begins at a few terabytes. Easy to add additional storage. The user is responsible for adding nodes or disks.

The longer the data stays on the cloud, the more likely an increase in cost will occur. Often a good solution for varying storage needs.

Since this is a licensed solution, the amount of time the data is stored is irrelevant for the user. Often a good solution for archiving lots of data.

Accessibility is limited to the bandwidth of the internet connection.

Generally accessed through a secure virtual private network or VPN.

Data is typically replicated to many different locations, usually for an additional charge.

Data is typically in a single location, although some larger cloud deployments can include additional locations.

Users must agree and abide to terms and conditions as offered by the service provider.

Users have control over the amount and what data is stored in the cloud.

In the case of a disaster or lost data, the provider is responsible. Remediation is usually a cash payment and assistance to recover back-up files.

Users likely have their data backed up to multiple locations. Individual server failures do not result in data loss.

No maintenance costs. The service provider offers all technical assistance.

Users have to employ system administrators to manage their cloud data solutions.

Just when you thought you understood it all, let’s mix it up a bit. There is another type of cloud, hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud environment consists of multiple internal and/or external providers and is actually quite typical for most enterprises.


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