6 pros and 3 cons of public clouds

The public cloud hosting market offers a variety of deployment models that solve the tasks of businesses regardless of the industry of the size. A company’s IT services can be deployed in a private cloud, in public cloud hosting or in a hybrid infrastructure. In this article, we will weigh the pros and cons of public clouds & look into some examples of public cloud use-cases. We will also consider a few situations when the disadvantages of public clouds make other solutions a better choice.

What is a public cloud and how does it work?

The public cloud is a cloud deployment model that provides each user with a segment of its resources. These resources are a dynamic pool that can be adjusted at any time; users can change the configuration instantly. Virtual machines in the cloud are the equivalent of a physical server. However, the parameters of the VM do not depend on a single host server. On the contrary, a virtual machine uses the resources of multiple physical servers at the same time.

The advantages of public cloud services depend on the company’s unique needs. Some need the fast scaling of public cloud solutions, others need the high performance of a dedicated server or the high security of a private cloud. Let us consider the advantages and disadvantages of public clouds compared to other infrastructural solutions.

What are the main advantages of public clouds?

Advantage 1: Flexible payment

As a rule, clients pay for the cloud using the «pay-as-you-go» model. The architecture of the solution is the main reason behind this, since users can change the configuration of the cloud at any moment using the dashboard. As a consequence, you cannot accurately predict how much the total is going to be, say, per month.

This circumstance lets clients only pay for the resources the company is currently using. For example, if your business works with seasonal traffic surges, you can turn on the additional resources for the peak period and turn them off afterwards. This way, the company gets the computing power for the task and doesn’t need to overpay when it is no longer needed. This is impossible when it comes to physical infrastructure, which is provided with a fixed price tag.

Advantage 2: High scalability

The public cloud is scaled without the need to buy new equipment and manually install it in an on-premises data center. You can add CPU cores, RAM or storage space to the virtual machines whenever you need. The resources are also provided through remote access; the cloud’s hardware base is stored in the provider’s data center.

This advantage of public clouds will be especially useful for small companies that are unable to expand their IT capabilities by purchasing expensive hardware. The public cloud can be scaled as the business grows and be instantly adjusted to fit the task at hand. This is much more cost-effective and fast compared to a dedicated server. If you need to scale a physical server, you will have to buy new components and replace the old ones.

Advantage 3: The provider takes care of maintenance

When you rent a cloud, you no longer need to buy equipment or software; this becomes your public cloud provider’s responsibility. The provider is also responsible for all the conditions necessary for the infrastructure to function, such as security and cooling systems, power, redundant components etc. This way, your company spends less on IT and saves time.

This benefit of the public cloud is also true of dedicated server rental. However, if the company’s infrastructure is deployed on-premises, there will be additional maintenance costs. If you want to rid your business of these expenses while taking full advantage of public cloud benefits, rent a public cloud.

Advantage 4: Short-term investment

More often than not, it’s hard to estimate long-term computing power needs when a business is at its early stages of development. In such cases, it is advisable to avoid solutions that need large investments, such as on-premises deployment or long-term rental of another infrastructural solution.

The public cloud solves this issue with its payment model: the client only pays for the resources that are currently being used. This way, the client’s business avoids long-term contracts and investments while working with a scalable and efficient computing platform.

Advantage 5: Global availability

The public cloud is a quick and affordable way to store data in any country in the world. For example, if a company needs to minimize latency for its services, all it has to do is pick a provider that stores the cloud in your country of choice. This can also be used to store data in a preferred jurisdiction. For example, SIM-Cloud is deployed in a data center in Germany, where the law guarantees protection against illegal seizures.

Setting up your own data center in another country is a difficult and expensive task. Besides the question of logistics, the company will have to figure out the specifics of the country’s legislature. If you use a cloud solution, your business will no longer have to solve this issue; the provider has already taken care of everything for you.

Advantage 6: High stability

The cloud is a fault-tolerant solution on the architectural level. If a component fails, the virtual machine will use the computing power of another server. This will not affect the functioning of services in the cloud and the systems will stay up. Reliable providers also use redundant components in the cloud. This significantly lowers the risk of critical failures.

Availability zones can be used for additional fault tolerance. An availability zone is an isolated segment of the cloud which uses:

  • independent computing instances;
  • separate power & cooling systems;
  • network connections etc.

By deploying its systems in 2 availability zones, a company can increase the stability of its services by a factor of 2.

What are the disadvantages of public clouds?

Disadvantage 1: Data security

The question of security is often raised in the context of public cloud solutions. Some of the views on data protection in public clouds are based on myths. For example, some believe that cloud providers have full access to their client’s data, which is simply untrue. However, it is a fact that client data is not physically isolated. This is why some industries with high demands towards safety forbid companies, such as medical institutions and banks, from using other public cloud benefits.

These companies can still benefit from the advantages of cloud solutions by renting a corporate private cloud. The private cloud is a fully isolated cloud infrastructure, which is used by one client only. This infrastructural solution meets the highest standards of data security and can be used in industries that work with sensitive data.

Disadvantage 2: Constant control over spending

The flexible «pay-as-you-go» model can be extremely useful; however, it may also become an inconvenience. All spending on the cloud needs to be carefully monitored so that the company does not overpay. The flexible configuration of the public cloud is what sets it apart from a regular virtual server. The cost of VPS rental is always the same, no matter how many resources you use. If you don’t pay close attention to the resources you’re using in the cloud, this service can become too expensive.

The public cloud should be chosen in cases when the company really does need a flexible infrastructure. This advantage is one of the main factors that makes clouds more expensive than, say, a VPS. If your business only works with stable workloads, the drawbacks of cloud computing make renting a dedicated server or a VPS a more cost-efficient solution.

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Disadvantage 3: Fewer individual options

Public cloud hosting solutions are universal, which will be of use to companies from various industries. However, this kind of infrastructure won’t solve the tasks of a company that needs a personalized cloud solution. If you need a computing platform built with the specifics of your business in mind, choose a private cloud.

The private cloud is built from scratch to fit the client’s needs and wishes. You can choose everything, from your preferred vendors to the way the network connections are going to be set up. This kind of personalization is impossible in the public cloud, which is made to solve more universal tasks. Such personalized projects are what SIM-Networks specializes in. If you want to learn more about the way clouds are used in business, reach out to our team using your preferred communication method and ask any questions you have.

Illia Chernikov

As a copywriter for SIM-Networks, Illia is passionate about delivering high-quality, accessible content in the industry of IT infrastructure solutions and helping readers deepen their understanding of the field. His main interests lie in the business aspects of IT infrastructure and how its application helps companies achieve their goals. Illia’s other interests include literature and linguistics.

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