The main advantage of any cloud platform depends on its architecture. For example, a private cloud offers a higher level of data protection compared to a public cloud, but it is less flexible. In this section, we will compare the advantages of each type of cloud based on three factors: flexibility, security, and fault tolerance.
Factor 1: Flexibility
A cloud user can create a virtual machine for a specific task at any time and use as many resources as the process requires. This feature is useful for working with periodic or unpredictable workloads: a virtual machine can be created in a couple of minutes using the platform's built-in tools as soon as a new task appears.
In the case of public clouds, this advantage also has a financial aspect. A company can plan expenses based on resource needs rather than on required equipment. If a company needs additional computing power for a seasonal influx of customers or for a software development project, there's no need to buy a new server; the user can temporarily add the exact amount of resources needed for the task. This way, the cost of cloud infrastructure is determined by the specific goals of the company.
The capabilities of a private cloud are provided for the exclusive use of a single client, so the rental cost does not depend on the actual load. Companies often use this infrastructure for processes with predictable resource requirements. When making a decision to rent a private cloud, it is important to determine how many resources will be used constantly and how many need to be kept in reserve. This way you can take advantage of the technological benefits of the private cloud without unnecessary spending.
A hybrid cloud is a platform that allows you to take advantage of the features of multiple types of clouds simultaneously. At the early stages of business development, one platform is often enough for all processes. As the business grows, you may need to transfer internal corporate tools to a dedicated platform while maintaining the ability to quickly adapt to non-standard tasks. A combination of private and public clouds is a good way to solve this problem.
Factor 2. Security
The stereotype that public clouds are unsafe is very common. The root of this misconception lies in the understanding of the term "public": the idea is that other users can easily access your data within the cloud. In actuality, the hypervisor fully segments the system and eliminates this possibility by preventing any interaction between different users.
Public clouds offer data protection tools by default and allow you to install your own systems. Here are some basic security tools in the SIM-Networks public cloud: hardware disk encryption, VPN tunnels, firewalls, encrypted network connections, and DDoS protection.
Compared to public clouds, the advantage of private clouds is the physical isolation of data. Some industries, such as medicine and banking, prohibit the use of public clouds for confidential customer data because the information would be stored on the same hardware as other users' data. By using private clouds, institutions and enterprises with high security requirements eliminate the theoretical possibility of data falling into the wrong hands, for example, if a server is physically stolen to gain access to your "neighbor's" data.
Security in a hybrid cloud largely depends on the platforms that make up the infrastructure. However, by definition, data in such an infrastructure is separated: sensitive data can be placed in a private cloud, and less security-demanding data can be placed in a public cloud. It is unlikely that a malicious actor can bypass the multi-layered cloud security systems – and even if they do, they will only gain access to part of the company's data.
Factor 3. Fault tolerance
Processes in the cloud do not depend on the functioning of a single machine - in the event of a failure, the virtual machine will use resources from other servers and continue to operate. This advantage is achieved thanks to scale: public clouds always have enough machines to ensure uninterrupted operation for a large number of users.
Well-designed clouds also use reserve components. For example, the SIM-Networks public cloud uses the 2N+1 scheme. This means that each component has two parallel copies and one more in reserve. This way, the equipment must fail three times for the machine to go down, at which point another server will immediately pick up the load. Several availability zones are also used: they are isolated segments of one cloud based on separate hardware.
The physical isolation of a private cloud also contributes to increased fault tolerance. You can completely eliminate the risk that the actions of other users will affect the operation of your infrastructure. Considering the principle of cloud architecture, this event is unlikely in a public cloud as well. However, the use of dedicated hardware provides maximum control over its functioning.
Like with data security, hybrid cloud offers a high level of fault tolerance through data distribution. Each cloud in the system uses its own fault-tolerant mechanisms, so even if one cloud completely fails, another cloud can continue to operate. A hybrid cloud as a solution for fault tolerance is the most reliable choice, but it is not always justified in terms of the financial and resource costs required to maintain this system.