Difference Between Private Cloud And Public Cloud

Cloud deployment models can vary with the needs of organizations. Two fundamental cloud deployment models, private cloud and public cloud differ based on who owns and controls the cloud. Private clouds are owned and used by a single tenant, separated from the public internet and other systems using firewalls. A public cloud is open to the public Internet, where cloud service providers (CSP) can serve multiple tenants many different services.

What Is A Private Cloud?

A private cloud is a cloud deployment model where a single organization owns and administers its own cloud and the underpinning networking infrastructure to support it. This model creates central access to IT resources for departments and staff across multiple locations and potential regions. Private clouds are implemented behind the organization’s firewall which is the major distinguishing factor from other cloud deployments models. In the private cloud model, the organization that owns the private cloud is both cloud consumer and cloud service provider (CSP).

Because private clouds rely on internal resources, companies primarily choose the model so they retain security and control over their network. Recouping recurring costs from public CSPs is another major motivator for operating a private cloud. However, service level agreements (SLA) agreed to when companies use CSPs can also help keep costs down by shifting operational risk to the CSP and holding them to a particular quality of service (QoS).

Adopting a private cloud strategy demands that companies consider the worth of the network based on its business use, the necessity of private resources, and the cost of maintaining the network and supporting infrastructure, versus alternatives such as virtual private clouds (VPC), that enable private clouds in a public cloud space.

What Is A Public Cloud?

A public cloud, in contrast to a private cloud, is a pool of shared computing resources owned by a cloud service provider (CSP) and delivered to cloud consumers via the public Internet. Cloud consumers can select from numerous cloud configurations tailored to their needs and sign up for pay-as-you-go payment programs. These options give consumers tremendous technological flexibility and control over IT expenses. Because the CSP model assumes responsibility for maintaining hardware, application, and bandwidth, organizations can easily set up deployments and later extend them when demand increases without the burden of managing the underlying infrastructure.

For many types of organizations, the shared cloud resources model is an enabling technology. A small software development firm never needs to own servers, they can simply utilize a platform-as-a-service provider and begin development with little upfront IT costs. For larger content delivery enterprises, utilizing public cloud data centers is a redundancy strategy that can ensure content remains reliably accessible during peak times. CSPs match those needs, growing and shrinking resources to prevent under and overprovisioned, needlessly inflating costs.

What Are Hybrid Clouds?

Hybrid clouds are cloud services that use both private and public clouds for use by a single organization. These configurations are managed using software-defined networking technologies that meld disparate networks into one. Users of the hybrid cloud interact with it as if it were one seamlessly unified network.

Hybrid clouds are different from multicloud configurations by always including at least one private cloud, whereas multiclouds combine multiple public clouds, which themselves may be part of a hybrid cloud.

Hybrid clouds benefits include enabling organizations to reduce the costly inefficiencies of maintaining their own infrastructure. Additionally, hybrid clouds help companies address scaling concerns, and offer security features.

Private Cloud Advantages & Disadvantages

For organizations that deploy private clouds, their primary advantage is also their primary disadvantage. Private clouds grant the power of complete cloud control, but with power comes the responsibility of ownership, think maintenance, upgrades, troubleshooting, security, etc. The following are some prominent advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Private Cloud Advantages

  • Complete Control Over Technology Choices — Complete control over every technology choice is a powerful aspect of private clouds. For enterprise clients that may have integrated hundreds of systems and thousands of services across regions, a private cloud may be the only option for keeping these systems aligned.
  • Maximum Security and Privacy — Stemming from the advantage of fullcontrol comes maximum security and privacy. Private cloud owners build their clouds behind firewalls, controlling all traffic in and out, and if desired, they can be cut off from the public Internet altogether.
  • Near-Zero Latency — Public cloud resources simply cannot beat the latency of local resources.

Private Cloud Disadvantages

  • Full Responsibility — Private clouds are owned and operated by the consumer of the same cloud. That means all overhead and responsibilities for maintaining the private cloud must be assumed by the cloud owner. Unless the cloud owner hires a managed private cloud where a professional service is put in charge of maintaining all the aspects of the cloud.
  • Cost Disadvantage — Private clouds are expensive because costs can go up and down depending on the behavior and usage of the private cloud. Whereas, agreeing to a service level agreement (SLA) with a cloud provider guarantees that prices remain consistent and predictable. For instance, an unanticipated cyberattack that cripples a private cloud can be expensive to defend and recover from, but that is a security cost that can be included in SLAs.
  • Technology Obsolescence — Linked to costs in a way, when technology needs to be upgraded, private clouds rely on in-house IT staff expertise and pay in the time to upgrade. When technology becomes obsolete, the organization makes another capital expenditure for newer technology or risk falling behind. Upgrades and innovations are factored into most public cloud services. Cloud consumers don’t need to worry about falling behind, the best CSPs will seamlessly update and upgrade their infrastructures, unnoticed to the consumer.

Hybrid deployments have successfully merged both public and private cloud, in effect lessening the disadvantages while making the advantages from both deployment types available to IT teams.

Public Cloud Advantages & Disadvantages

The public cloud space has grown exponentially, encouraged by technology improvements in security, faster reliable Internet delivery, and changes in consumer and workplace behaviors.

Public Cloud Advantages

  • Reliability, Elasticity, and Scalability — The main advantage of public clouds is the fact that resources are highly reliable and virtually infinite in elasticity, the ability to expand capacity and scalability, the ability to take on workloads. Many organizations need resources to track user demand, and public cloud resources and technology do this with ease.
  • Cost Controls — Because tracking resources with user demand is measurable, public cloud service providers can offer “pay-as-you-grow” agreements that allow companies to control their expenses more accurately.
  • A marketplace of Services — Though there are some big names in the public cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, MS Azure, Alibaba Cloud, IBM are some of the biggest, many smaller companies are offering more sophisticated platforms and subject-specific SaaS solutions for consumers. This marketplace of services is self-feeding as well, as technology advances the cloud becomes a more attractive environment to operate in.

Public Cloud Disadvantages

  • Security — Because of the nature of traversing data over the public Internet, public clouds will never be fully secure. Given the plethora of cloud configurations and deployment types, though, security can be mitigated.
  • Lack of Customization — The lack of customization aspect varies too with cloud providers. Lesser providers will expect tenants to operate within their environments. Whereas more capable providers can provide greater customizations.
  • Vendor Lock-in — If a tenant out-grows their cloud provider, migrating to a more capable provider is possible, but depending on the current provider could be difficult. When migration is too challenging, or cost-prohibitive to perform, then the tenant has succumbed to vendor lock-in, incapable of retrieving their data to transfer to another system. Vendor lock-in is a circumstance that is changing within the industry, as many of the big providers supply tools for customers to migrate their data. But some providers may simply not offer these types of tools.

What Are The Benefits Of Private Cloud Vs. Public Cloud?

Private cloud and public cloud benefits are not exclusive in today’s cloud landscape, primarily because public cloud providers have worked diligently to offer services that rival private clouds. However, many of the benefits of the private cloud are wholly unique, such as complete control over all aspects of hardware, software, and connectivity, which appeals to organizations in need of maximum security and customization.

Private Cloud Benefits

  • Complete Control — Private clouds are owned and operated by the cloud consumer, giving them full domain control over all aspects of their cloud infrastructure, configuration, and access.
  • Maximum Customizability — Private cloud owners have maximum control over protocols, compliance, configurations, etc. For certain use cases, such as optimization of applications that do not easily translate to public cloud systems.
  • Security Control, Privacy, and Autonomy — No matter how secure public cloud resources can be, traffic that poses security risks will still traverse the public Internet. Private cloud dramatically improves data privacy and security.

Public Cloud Benefits

  • Reduced Risks — Performance, maintenance, upgrades, downtime, and reliability are all things that IT staff would no longer need to worry about on the day-to-day.
  • Virtually Infinite Elasticity and Scalability — Public cloud models promise a perceived infinite elasticity and scalability (since hardware disappears to consumers), so when tenant system workloads ramp up they can reliably be served to users.
  • Innovation — Economies of scale allow public cloud providers to offer the latest innovative technologies to their customers. Perhaps even upgrading performance features that improve even basic cloud use, such as better storage management, or security software all without concerning tenant IT staff.

Private Vs. Public Cloud Deployments


Public Cloud

Private Cloud


Accessible anywhere with an Internet connection.

Accessible through the Internet with VPN, through a direct connection, through dedicated secure access.


Zero upfront capital costs, typically on a pay-as-you-use model with discounted entry offers.

Initial infrastructure capital costs can be high. Ongoing monthly maintenance costs and occasional equipment upgrade costs.


Basic compliance models are usually included, with additional premium security and compliance services available.



Privacy regulations compliance becomes the full responsibility of the owner but allows for custom compliance models.


Less control over data governance and privacy.


No shared devices, resulting in more control over data governance and privacy.


Dependent on Cloud Service Provider, but typically limited adaptability and customization.


Responsibility for adaptability but with full control over customizations.


Push-button deployments with no long-term contracts.

Owners are fully responsible for deployments, and investments in underlying software and hardware.


Public cloud infrastructures by default include multiple tenants, though single-tenant clouds can be set up in the public cloud space.

The entire cloud infrastructure is owned and operated by a single tenant. It can be housed on-premises or on off-site data centers.


The cloud service provider maintains infrastructure taking risks and responsibilities away from tenants.

Great maintenance responsibilities. Tenants must maintain private cloud infrastructure, and commit staffing resources and time.


CSPs provide resource scaling and reliable performance.

Dedicated servers are wholly at the disposal of the private cloud owner. Scaling and performance needs must be monitored by them.


Large public cloud vendors are able to leverage economies of scale to increase reliability across all systems.

Reliability is the full responsibility of the private cloud owner who can configure their resources with cloud-bursting options to satisfy peak times.



Virtually unlimited cloud resources to scale compute and storage for a price.

Scaling is a challenge, and expensive to perform on-site.


Additional measures can be made available to enhance security options.

Private servers and isolated network environments can be utilized to provide higher levels of security within the existing infrastructure. 

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