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Selecting the Right Cloud Service Model


Cloud computing has become an integral part of the modern digital landscape, providing businesses and organizations with scalable, flexible and cost-effective solutions for their IT infrastructure and application needs. The global public cloud services market is expected to grow from $371.4 billion in 2020 to over $832 billion by 2025 according to Gartner, demonstrating the importance of adopting the right cloud service model.

As cloud adoption continues to accelerate, it’s important for companies to understand the different cloud service models available – public, private and hybrid – to determine the right deployment strategy for their unique requirements.

Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services like servers, storage, databases, networking and software over the internet. Additionally, rather than owning and maintaining physical data centers and servers, companies can leverage the pooled computing resources of cloud service providers to enjoy greater flexibility, scalability and cost-efficiency.

Cloud Service Model Types

Each cloud service model differs primarily in terms of the level of control, security, customization and cost:

  • Public cloud platforms utilize shared infrastructure and resources owned and managed by third-party cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Offering high scalability and flexibility, public cloud is best suited for workloads that require rapid deployment and have more tolerance for downtime risks. However, there are less control and customization options compared to private cloud service model.
  • Private cloud platforms provide organizations their own dedicated cloud environment hosted on a private network or data center. This allows complete control over resources and security, along with the ability to customize to meet specific needs. A private cloud service model is ideal for applications involving sensitive data or regulatory requirements. However, it requires higher capital expenditure and in-house expertise.
  • Hybrid cloud adopts a blend of public and private cloud models, bridging between internal and external resources. Organizations can host critical or proprietary applications and data on the private cloud while leveraging the public cloud for general workloads demanding scalability. The hybrid cloud service model approach provides the most flexibility to balance security, control and agility.

As cloud computing permeates business operations worldwide, understanding the nuances between deployment models is key to developing an optimal cloud strategy aligned with an organization’s specific priorities, workload characteristics and budget. Adopting a Cloud First Strategy can exponentially boost your business efficiency, reduce your costs and enhance your scalability, positioning your business for sustained growth and competitive advantage.

Understanding the Three Cloud Models

Public Cloud Service Model

A public cloud service model refers to cloud computing services offered by third-party providers over the public internet, making them available to anyone who wants to sign up and pay for them. Some of the most well-known public cloud providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

With public cloud, compute resources like servers, storage, and networking are owned and managed completely by the cloud provider. Customers rent access to these shared resources on an on-demand, pay-as-you-go basis. This eliminates the need for customers to invest in purchasing and maintaining their own physical infrastructure.


Key Characteristics

Key characteristics of public cloud include:

  • Shared infrastructure: Resources are shared with other organizations in a multi-tenant model. Customers have no control over the location of the physical infrastructure.
  • Self-service provisioning: Customers can provision cloud resources quickly via web portals and APIs without needing human interaction from the cloud provider.
  • Elasticity: Customers can scale services up or down to meet demands, paying only for what they use.
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing: Usage of computing resources is metered and customers are billed based on actual usage rather than upfront costs. This creates an operational expenditure model.


A public cloud service model offers several benefits for many businesses:

  • Cost-effective: No need to invest in expensive on-premises infrastructure and data centers. Operating expenditure model creates direct cost correlation to workload.
  • Scalability: Ability to scale compute power up or down on demand provides flexibility and agility.
  • Minimal maintenance: The cloud provider fully manages infrastructure, reducing IT overhead for customers.
  • Ubiquitous access: Resources available over the public internet allow easy access from anywhere.


However, there are some downsides to consider as well:

  • Less control: Customers must rely on the cloud provider for support and functions like security, upgrades and uptime guarantees.
  • Potential latency issues: Being dependent on the public internet can impact performance and availability.
  • Multi-tenant environment: Sharing underlying hardware with unknown outside parties may not meet security and compliance requirements for highly sensitive workloads.

Overall, public cloud offers a flexible and affordable option for companies to adopt cloud computing without large upfront infrastructure investments. It works best for general business applications and workloads that require scalability but are less sensitive to latency or control restrictions.

Private Cloud Service Model

Private cloud refers to a cloud computing model where IT infrastructure and services are provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization. Unlike public cloud, private cloud resources are not shared with other customers. The private cloud service model can be physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter or hosted by a third-party service provider.



Key Characteristics

Key characteristics of private cloud include:

  • Dedicated infrastructure: Resources are dedicated to a single organization and are not shared with others. This ensures greater control and security.
  • Self-service provisioning: Users can provision resources on-demand without IT support, similar to public cloud.
  • Scalability: Companies can scale private cloud capacity by adding servers/storage as per needs. However, scaling is finite compared to infinite scalability of public cloud.
  • Ownership: Private cloud infrastructure can be owned, managed and hosted internally or externally through a provider.

Private cloud is best suited for:

  • Large enterprises: Who have complex IT needs and favor greater control, security, and customization.
  • Government entities: With critical data and processes that require complete isolation and operational autonomy.
  • Regulated industries like healthcare and banking: Where data privacy and residency requirements are paramount.


Advantages of private cloud include:

  • Customization: Companies can tailor the cloud to their specific workflows and technical requirements.
  • Security: Complete data control and isolation provides greater security for sensitive applications.
  • Performance: Avoiding the public internet minimizes latency concerns and improves reliability for mission-critical workloads.
  • Control: Companies retain complete oversight over resources, governance, backup, and disaster recovery.


However, there are downsides to consider:

  • Expensive: High capital expenditure needed for on-premise private cloud setup and maintenance.
  • Expertise required: Specialized skills needed to deploy and operate private cloud infrastructure.
  • Limited scalability: Scaling private cloud capacity is constrained compared to public cloud.

Overall, private cloud appeals to organizations that value control, security, and customization over the potential cost savings and flexibility of public cloud. It works for data-sensitive workloads unable to be supported by multi-tenant architecture.

Hybrid Cloud Service Model

Hybrid cloud combines private and public cloud infrastructures to provide businesses the best of both worlds. With hybrid cloud, companies can leverage dedicated private cloud resources for sensitive, mission-critical workloads while also tapping into the scalability and cost-efficiency of public cloud services.


Key Characteristics

Key characteristics of hybrid cloud include:

  • Mix of resources: Organizations use a combination of private cloud, public cloud and on-premises infrastructure. Resources can be managed internally or by external providers.
  • Orchestration: Hybrid cloud enables movement of data and applications between public and private environments via orchestration and management tools. This facilitates workload portability.
  • Flexible scaling: Companies can rapidly scale computing needs up or down by shifting workloads between private and public clouds based on demand. This creates greater agility.
  • Unified operations: Hybrid cloud aims to provide consistent operations, governance, visibility, and security across the disparate environments.


Hybrid cloud offers several key benefits:

  • Flexibility: Organizations utilize the optimal cloud platform for each application workload’s specific requirements around compliance, scalability, control, security and costs.
  • Scalability: Applications seamlessly scale compute needs across private and public clouds to meet business demands. This is more cost-effective than scaling private cloud alone.
  • Data control: Companies can house sensitive data and apps on private cloud while leveraging public cloud for general workloads.
  • Cost savings: Organizations only pay for additional public cloud resources when extra capacity is needed.


However, there are challenges to evaluate as well:

  • Complexity: Integrating and managing apps across such distinct environments can be complicated and requires robust orchestration tools.
  • Expertise required: Successfully running hybrid cloud necessitates teams skilled in both public and private cloud platforms.
  • Security risks: Careful design is required to avoid data leakage or unauthorized access between the environments.

In summary, a hybrid approach gives enterprises the most flexibility in tailoring cloud models based on the unique needs of their workload. All things considered, a hybrid cloud service model is ideal for organizations that require both highly controlled and highly elastic computing capabilities.

Determining Your Business’s Cloud Needs

Selecting the right cloud deployment model is a key strategic decision that requires careful analysis of your business’s unique requirements, goals and constraints. Here are some best practices to guide your evaluation process.

Evaluate Data Sensitivity

Classify application data and workloads based on sensitivity – Is it confidential data that requires air-tight security? Or is it non-critical information suitable for public cloud?

Assess the impact of data exposure or loss for each application and its data. This will guide deployment decisions.

Consider legal, regulatory and data residency requirements that may dictate where data can be stored and processed.

Forecast Growth and Scalability

Project future infrastructure capacity needs as accurately as possible. How quickly is compute demand likely to grow?

Factor in any known growth trajectories, seasonality, campaigns and new product launches. Weigh the ability to scale seamlessly up or down to meet changes in traffic, bandwidth and storage requirements.

Understand Compliance Regulations

Be aware of any regulatory compliance considerations such as HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS that may apply.

Audit controls and responsibilities – public cloud providers are responsible for physical security only. You retain accountability for cybersecurity controls and compliance in the cloud.

Key Considerations When Selecting a Cloud Model

  • Security: Evaluate authentication protocols, data encryption standards, perimeter controls, network security and security staff expertise. Know the security and compliance certifications held by the provider – ISO 27001, FedRAMP, HIPAA etc.
  • Cost: Analyze total cost of ownership over 3-5 year period, factoring transition/training costs and learning curve. Compare CAPEX vs OPEX for each option. Consider budget requirements and weigh costs of migrating or re-architecting applications for the cloud vs keeping status quo.
  • Performance: Measure speed, uptime history, downtime frequency, expected latency and recovery times. Review if SLAs adequately guarantee reliability and performance metrics your business expects.
  • Integration: Assess how easily the provider environment integrates with your existing on-premises systems and tools. Evaluate ease of data and application migration and portability between cloud models.
  • Support & SLAs: Compare provider SLA commitments for uptime, response times, technical support, data restoration etc. Gauge the provider’s reputation for customer support and responsiveness.

By thoroughly evaluating these aspects against business objectives, you can determine the optimal cloud model for current needs and future growth.

Frequently Asked Questions About Each Cloud Model

Here are some frequently asked questions about public, private, and hybrid cloud models:

Public Cloud FAQs

Q: Is public cloud secure?

A: Public clouds invest heavily in state-of-the-art security. However, customers share responsibility and must configure settings and access controls to protect their data.

Q: Can I customize infrastructure on public cloud?

A: Customization is limited on public cloud since resources are shared. You rely on the provider’s tools and platform services.

Q: What are the uptime guarantees for public cloud?

A: Average uptime SLA across leading providers is 99.9%. Some offer higher reliability SLA tiers for critical applications.

Q: Can I easily move applications between public clouds?

A: While possible, re-platforming apps for a new provider’s environment requires effort. Portability standards are still evolving.

Private Cloud FAQs

Q: Does private cloud require on-premise infrastructure?

A: Private cloud can be hosted on-premise or provisioned at a third-party datacenter. The distinguishing factor is the single-tenancy.

Q: Is data more secure on private cloud?

A: Private cloud enables full control over data security and governance. But the user is responsible for policies, encryption, backups etc.

Q: Is private cloud more expensive than public cloud?

A: Yes, private cloud requires higher capital expenditure for hardware, licenses, facilities etc. But it avoids unpredictable public cloud costs.

Q: Can private cloud match public cloud scalability?

A: Scalability is limited to existing capacity since you cannot leverage the unlimited, on-demand resources of a public cloud provider.

Hybrid Cloud FAQs

Q: What applications are best suited for hybrid cloud?

A: Hybrid cloud is ideal for apps that need both security of private cloud and scalability of public cloud.

Q: Does hybrid cloud reduce overall costs?

A: Intelligent data tiering and scaling workloads between environments can optimize spending. But poorly planned hybrid cloud can actually increase costs.

Q: Is a hybrid cloud more complex?

A: Yes, successful hybrid cloud requires mature processes and skills to integrate and manage across multiple environments.

Q: Can I seamlessly move data between private and public cloud?

A: Smooth data portability requires unified data management tools. Strong network connectivity between environments is also recommended.

Which Cloud Service is Right for Your Business?

With the rapid growth of cloud computing, migrating to the cloud has become an imperative for most enterprises today. However, it’s critical to take a strategic approach in determining the right deployment model aligned to your unique business needs.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Overall, public cloud offers unmatched agility and scalability, making it suitable for business applications without too many security concerns. In addition, private cloud provides the highest degree of control, security and customization for sensitive workloads. Meanwhile, hybrid cloud gives organizations the flexibility to combine both environments.

Carefully examine factors like data sensitivity, compliance needs, workload profiles, growth projections, availability requirements and cost. Evaluate how well each cloud model fulfills the specific capabilities your business applications demand now and in the future.

What’s the Right Cloud Service Model for Your Business?

Consider leveraging the experience of IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) like Xperteks to guide your cloud decision-making process. MSPs are cloud and vendor neutral experts that can provide unbiased consultancy to determine the most appropriate cloud roadmap for your organization after thoroughly understanding your IT landscape and business objectives.

With a comprehensive evaluation of your strategic business drivers, risk factors and workaround requirements across public, private and hybrid cloud, you can make the optimal choice. The right cloud model implemented in tune with evolving needs can help boost business performance, agility and competitive advantage for the long-term.

Reach out to Xperteks for expert guidance on selecting and implementing the right cloud service model for your business.

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