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A Shifting Market: Private vs. Public Clouds

For years, public cloud services have held sway over the cloud computing market, capturing business from companies of all sizes. However, the status quo is changing as private cloud technology has evolved and is now challenging top public cloud providers. Private cloud services have risen in both quality and popularity, with users leaning toward reliability and customizability over the fading cost advantages historically touted by public cloud providers. Though the public cloud remains a convenient option for companies looking for a basic cloud hosting service, savvy IT professionals would be wise to investigate private cloud services to better serve their needs.

 

Dispelling the myth: Public clouds aren’t cheaper

Public cloud providers have long marketed themselves as the most cost-effective cloud option. The pay-by-use fee structure of most public clouds has allowed them to position their services as the inexpensive, budget-friendly choice. Clients can scale capacity and compute power to their needs without paying more. It’s a nice idea in theory, but in practice, it just doesn’t play out this way.

Public cloud providers have become adept at hiding extra fees in their customer relations, with large providers levying hefty charges for nearly anything that occurs in your cloud environment. Most large public cloud services run without performance guarantees, despite promising plenty of capacity to serve your needs. Capacity is useless without the resources to back it up, and public clouds often charge you extra simply for fast service. The low network latency suffered by public clouds is a result of sharing facilities across a multitude of clients with differing needs, and it means slower speeds for the applications you need to run. If you’re unhappy with the performance of a public cloud, you’ll probably have to pay to get things moving at the speed you require: large public clouds will force you to pay even for running virtual machines or implementing 1 0G-capable instances. More egregiously, they’ll even charge you extra for support services, so when your cloud goes offline (and it probably will), you’ll need to pay your provider just to get it back up and running normally. That’s not cost-effective, and it’s not user-friendly, either.

Trust the data. In early 2017, a study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) demonstrated that clients working on private clouds reported lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than did clients from similar organizations who contracted public cloud services. Enterprises with 2,000 users saved an average of $5.4 million after five years when using private cloud technology. Likewise, 41.5% of participants in the study stated that cost-effectiveness was one of the top three benefits of deploying their applications on a private cloud. It’s not hard to see why.

In the end, control matters, especially when it comes to your company’s budget. Though public clouds typically offer pay-by-use options, these rarely provide the stability sought by smart businesses. They would argue that having the ability to turn instances on and off at will means you won’t pay for service you aren’t using, but doing so means you’re placing an unpredictable strain on your budget. In contrast, private clouds provide similar options without the frenetic cost shifts inherent to public clouds, meaning that in the long run, you’ll save money and know what you’re getting now and into the future. This is especially true of organizations with fixed data needs or that desire the peace of mind that comes with dedicated resources and immediate access. Flexibility is important, but if you lack control it can become a detriment.

 

Security, Reliability, and Control

You don’t have to look far to see the risks of using massive shared public cloud services to run your applications. Recent outages and the widespread loss of service that followed have demonstrated that despite their resources and popularity, public clouds are hardly foolproof. Moreover, an outage through the public cloud leaves you without options; in many cases, you’re stuck waiting for your service to return while your cloud provider figures out what went wrong. Combine that with the risk of losing your data following a cloud outage, and you can see why more and more companies are opting for the reliability and close control offered by private clouds.

In fact, the same IDC study of 1,000 midsize and large organizations revealed that 34% of study participants named better security as a primary reason for selecting a private cloud provider. With private clouds, your data is segmented at both the software and hardware levels, providing layered security that isn’t subject to the rules and practices of a large provider trying to cater to thousands of clients at once in the same facility.

And since private clouds are usually hosted either on-site or in a closed facility, you have an extra degree of customization and control that simply isn’t present with public clouds. The ability to respond quickly to service issues (without incurring any extra cost) is invaluable to most enterprises, especially if your business is large or requires strict data regulation. Public clouds frequently place restrictions on how you manage your data. The dedicated nature of private clouds gives you the ability to access and manage your data and applications without restriction.

 

Conclusion

The choice between public and private cloud options comes down to the specific needs of your business or organization, but real-world results have shown why more and more enterprises are heading toward private cloud solutions. Without the longstanding advantage of cost-efficiency, public clouds have lost significant ground to private service providers who offer transparent pricing without the frustration of hidden fees.

Regardless of size, businesses need the peace of mind that comes with having complete control over their assets. Given the recent struggles of large public cloud providers to maintain their data centers without lapses in service, businesses should appreciate the stability and control that come with a private cloud provider. Ultimately, it comes down to control at every level: cost, functionality, performance, and security. In today’s cloud computing market, private clouds check all the boxes.