An Overview of Private Cloud vs Public Cloud

Posted on by Chika Ibeneme | Updated:
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When comparing private cloud vs public cloud, private cloud is a single-tenant, isolated, and highly secure, dedicated enterprise environment (virtual data center) that is managed either on-premise by qualified IT teams or by managed service providers. Public cloud is a highly scalable, elastic, and shared infrastructure located at a large cloud service provider (CSP) with management handled by a third-party provider.

There are many advantages to cloud computing models. These models provide virtualization of data, which helps manage and store large files of data securely.

Table of Contents:

What is the Core Difference Between Private Cloud and Public Cloud?

Private clouds belong to one individual or organization, offering full environment and software control. On the other hand, public clouds are shared among multiple users on a larger cloud ecosystem.

What is Private Cloud?

Private Cloud is a flexible and reliable framework of computing services offered over either the Internet or a private, internal network. Clouds, such as Liquid Web’s Private Cloud powered by VMware, are made up of enterprise-grade infrastructure virtualized into a pool of resources from multiple servers. Private clouds provide high availability through redundant hardware and isolation of workloads through virtual machines (VMs). You can easily set up virtual machines using VMware.

Large organizations invest a lot in private cloud virtual data centers as they provide a highly secure environment. In addition, the organization itself is the owner of the private cloud, so there is no need for sharing of infrastructure. 

Private clouds are used by organizations that manage large files of data such as videos and presentations. Other use cases can involve private networks, DevOps teams that need to quickly spin up or down workloads and testing environments, or even healthcare businesses dealing with sensitive patient data (ePHI), among others.

What is Public Cloud?

Public clouds are the opposite of private clouds as they can be shared among several users (also known as multi-tenancy). In this cloud model, framework and resources are supplied by a major CSP or a third-party provider. 

When comparing private cloud vs public cloud, public cloud deployments use one or more cloud services. These cloud services could be offered via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) models. Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure offer IaaS models without depending on private cloud infrastructure. Public clouds also offer pay-as-you-go models (also known as per-resource models) which can be advantageous for workload agility but can lead to hidden cloud costs.

Public cloud providers such as Google Cloud Platform, AWS, or Azure allow organizations to infinitely scale resources as they grow their users or traffic volume to their applications and software.

Can Public and Private Cloud Combine?

Organizations often need more than a single cloud solution. Fortunately there are models that balance the use of both public and private clouds at the same time: hybrid cloud and multi cloud.

What is Hybrid Cloud?

For those comparing public cloud vs private cloud vs hybrid cloud, a hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines a private cloud with a public cloud and allows the data and applications to be shared between them. In this model, the company's data center is transformed into an interconnected private and public cloud hosted by a hosting provider. A hybrid cloud is used when an organization has strict compliance regulations and desires to keep sensitive business data in a private cloud while moving other workloads to the public cloud for increased workload agility and flexibility. Also, it can be used when a company needs to migrate some parts of the data to the cloud without having to move the entire application.

What is Multi Cloud?

Multi cloud implies multiple public interconnected clouds. A company that uses a multi-cloud model integrates various public clouds from more than one cloud provider. Instead of using one service provider, they use several vendors for hosting, storage, and hardware.   

Organizations may opt for a multi cloud approach when one service provider’s features do not meet the organization’s needs, if there are geographical reasons for hosting workloads closer to target markets to reduce latency, or for redundancy and uptime.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Private Cloud vs Public Cloud

Overall, private clouds offer increased isolation and compatibility with more types of workloads, while public clouds offer increased scalability and flexibility. 

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of private cloud vs public cloud:

Advantages of Private Cloud

Private clouds provide security benefits over public clouds. Medium and large-scale businesses typically choose a private cloud for increased protection, compliance, and scalability features that are not available in a public cloud. Here are a few benefits of private clouds:

Control Over Infrastructure

Since the organization fully owns the data center, they also have full authority and control over their servers, network, and data. They have complete oversight of their data.

Ease of Consumption

Private cloud is also easy to consume without requiring additional skills and training. Unlike the API and services model of AWS, private cloud hosting is built on acquainted frameworks and server stacks within Windows and Linux environments. Once your framework is set up, you're ready to go.

Disadvantages of Private Cloud

Private cloud has enormous benefits for some unique business requirements; however, there are a few disadvantages to consider:


One of the significant disadvantages of using a private cloud is the expense. You need a proper team of IT experts to work on the software. The infrastructure is costly, and it requires maintenance. You’ll also need to hire a team of people for maintenance and full-time support.

Requires In-Depth Maintenance

While the private cloud is extremely powerful, it is not as elastic as the public cloud in terms of maintenance. Private cloud requires time to set up the system and get it running. IT experts should be available 24/7 in case of any minor error or mistake if hosting on-premises.

Advantages of Public Cloud

There are numerous advantages of using a public cloud vs private cloud:

Reduced Expenses

Public clouds generally cost less than private clouds. Maintenance of servers, updating of applications, and security of the system all fall on the shoulders of the cloud service provider. You simply have to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for it. However, this pay-per-resource model can fluctuate, making IT spend harder to predict.

Less Burden on IT Staff

While you will need a skilled IT staff to maintain an onsite networking system and devices connected to the Internet for workers, the trouble of supporting servers and applications will depend on the service provider. This reduces the burden on your IT staff.

High Flexibility

The public cloud provides the highest flexibility and scalability of workloads. Cloud providers are generally able to scale and adapt their infrastructure to your needs.

Disadvantages of Public Cloud

Here are some public cloud disadvantages that your company must consider before employing a public cloud solution:

Latency Issues Between Data Centers

One of the major disadvantages of the public cloud is that, in most instances, not all of an organization's resources will be migrated into the cloud at the same time. In addition, the transfer of data between different data centers will cause latency between applications and data hosted in the cloud. Online data transfer (i.e., transfer via the Internet) requires much more time than offline data transfer.

Isolation and Security

The security standards of public clouds are high; however, knowing the CSP terms of service and the responsibility of the CSP vs the customer is key. In addition, public clouds do not offer the level of isolation that private clouds provide.

Rigid Model

Since public clouds offer rigid products and services, this rigidity can lead to incompatibilities with your needs. Aligning your business requirements with what is available can be a difficult task.

private cloud vs public cloud

Security, Data, and Compliance Considerations for Private Cloud vs Public Cloud

Regulatory Compliance

Many organizations collect data from their users such as personal information, location, bank information, etc. This type of data is governed by several privacy and security regulations so that no one can use it for any malicious activities. 

For example, in the USA, healthcare organizations must comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Similarly, public retail companies must comply with SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002) and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). 

Hence, organizations need to find a solution that can be compliant with the regulations set by industry standards.

Security in Public vs Private Clouds

In a public cloud model, numerous users share server resources without any trouble of data overlapping. While the shared nature is often a cause for alarm for organizations, public clouds are built so that all security measures are taken. CSPs such as Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure all have a shared responsibility model with their customers. The data, content, and accounts are always the responsibility of the customer. Components such as storage, network, and operating system will fall on the shoulders of CSPs. 

In private clouds, there is no concept of sharing, which gives organizations a greater opportunity to secure their system. Since CSPs handle infrastructure security, you do not have this level of customization. Hence, private clouds are a perfect model in terms of security if your business has cloud security and compliance requirements.

Data, Hardware, and Virtual Server Control in Private vs Public Clouds

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) users and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) developers have no authority or control over hardware or virtual servers. While SaaS users can only access the application, PaaS developers have some control over the SaaS application lifecycle. Note that only the CSP has control over hardware and virtual servers in a public cloud.

If you wish to acquire complete control over hardware and virtual servers, you should consider a private cloud. If the budget is limited, however, you can consider a hybrid cloud approach.

Why Choose VMware Private Cloud?

With enterprise-grade hardware, VMware Private Cloud provides you with an optimally-architected infrastructure custom built for your business needs. Liquid Web handles all maintenance and support for all your hardware and your virtual machines 24/7, so your team can focus on developing your software and application.

Private Cloud vs Public Cloud Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between public cloud and private cloud?


Why is private cloud better than public cloud?


What is a disadvantage of a private cloud?


How private is a private cloud?

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About the Author

Chika Ibeneme

Chika Ibeneme is a Community Support Agent at The Events Calendar. He received his BA in Computer Science in 2017 from Northern Caribbean University and has over 5 years of technical experience assisting customers and clients. You can find him working on various WordPress and Shopify projects.

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