The pros & cons of public, private, or hybrid cloud

What are the pros and cons of implementing a public, private, or hybrid cloud. Which one would you choose?  Today, CIOs must make saavy cloud spending choices from 2019 – 2021 because of the enormous amounts of data that IoT and the hyper-connected customer experience is creating.

By Debra Prentice, Market Development Director

For some, cloud computing may seem new, but the concept of the “pay-as-you-go” model has existed since the 1960’s. While computing hardware is much faster and cheaper than it was in the 20th century, the enormous amount of data that IoT (Internet of Things) and the customer’s expectation of a hyper-connected and personalized experience is driving the need for a more advanced cloud based solution.

No question, cloud computing is fully ingrained in how business is currently done. According to IDG, “73% of IT buyers have at least one application or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud”, and a whopping 1/3 of enterprise IT spending is spent on cloud computing!

… and the future of cloud computing is still growing. According to Forrester, cloud spending is expected to grow 20% or more and CIO’s must make savvy tech spending choices in 2019 and beyond. Additionally, Gartner predicts that “by 2021, more than half of global enterprises already using cloud today will adopt an all-in-cloud strategy.”

… so, the question is: should you go with public cloud, private cloud, or both?


Types of Cloud Services:

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service (HaaS:  Hardware as a Service)

IaaS is a fully outsourced cloud computing that has a virtualized interface over the internet. Users pay for only the services they want; and access to the software, hardware, network, and servers is provided. IaaS users have a cost friendly way of getting access to enterprise-grade IT resources and infrastructure and can scale up or down based on their requirements.

Typical examples of IaaS include hosting and development environments like a web hosting company.

PaaS:  Platform as a Service

This type of cloud computing is slightly more advanced than IaaS where a third-party provides both the hardware and software. Users of PaaS typically require their cloud computing to develop, test, and deploy applications. Hosting is done by the PaaS provider, and the provider is responsible for upgrades and maintenance.

Examples include Salesforce, Google App Engine, & Microsoft Azure.

SaaS:  Software as a Service (on-demand software)

Software that is centrally hosted over the internet on demand via a subscription. SaaS provides the infrastructure and handles the software upgrades and security.

Examples include Dropbox, GoToMeeting, & Cisco WebEx.

FaaS:  Functions as a Service

FaaS allows the customer to develop, run, and manage functions of the application while allowing developers are to be insulated from everything in the stack below their code. The customer does not have to maintain their own servers, but developers can upload blocks of code to be triggered by an event. This ensures that the IaaS resources are only used when the event occurs and therefore reduces the pay-per-use fees.

Typical examples include running a certain piece of code on a schedule, intermittent or changing workloads, or certain high-volume transactions.

Examples of FaaS providers are AWS Lambda,,, and Azure Functions.


The Pros and Cons of Public Cloud:

The entire infrastructure in located off-site and hosted by a computing company that offers the cloud service.

Pros of Public Cloud

  • Can meet the needs of most organizations
  • Lower upfront costs – pay as you go model
  • Servers are physically stored in an offsite data center that is secure and climate controlled
  • Vast network of servers to guard against failure
  • Big Cloud solutions providers such as Comcast Business Cloud, The IBM Cloud, Google Cloud Platform, and Red Hat will have had already spent big money on enterprise grade infrastructure and security. They will also have several back-ups in different locations across the world.
  • Scalability & reliability with on-demand resources

Cons of Public Cloud

  • At some point it may be more cost effective to go private. For example, if a company has resources to manage their own cloud or when the company has a need for more customized options. For companies whose business centers around maintaining private data or must adhere to compliance standards, private cloud is the best option.
  • Public cloud is a more desirable target for hackers. Your data could be at risk, even though the hacker was not specifically targeting you.
  • Public cloud may be a one-size-fits-most, and has limited flexibility in configuration and security. Public cloud is not ideal for companies who use sensitive data or is subject to compliance regulations.

Examples of systems that use public cloud: email, web sites, hosted desktop, backups, hosted VoIP.


The Pros and Cons of Private Cloud

The infrastructure and hosting are not shared and is done entirely by the customer which provides the highest level of security, control, and customization. The server can be stored offsite or onsite, and private clouds can be more reliable and efficient in delivering different service models.

Private cloud is best for companies whose core business centers around private data where control and security are important factors, companies who must adhere to stringent compliance standards, or companies that have enough resources to run their own data center.


Three Types of Private Cloud:

  • Software-only private cloud platforms
    • Software that resides on top of a customer’s existing software
    • Most useful for companies that have recently upgraded their hardware
  • Pre-integrated converged systems
    • Purchased as a hardware/software bundle
    • Ideal for customers who want a simple out-of-the-box private cloud solution
  • Managed private cloud
    • Combined hardware/software bundles that reside with the customer, but they are managed by a vendor.  The vendor provides support, maintenance, upgrades which gives the customer the benefits of a private cloud, but shifts the responsibility of managing it to the vendor

Pros of Private Cloud:

  • You own your own private cloud and have more control and flexibility what your systems connect to it, and how teams interact with it.
  • Cost of private cloud may decrease over time
  • Security risk is somewhat lower – your security profile for a targeted hacking attack may be lower than other more well-known companies
  • Can set firewalls specific for your needs
  • High scalability

Cons of Private Cloud:

  • Generally, more up-front costs that public cloud, but may get cheaper over time
  • Private cloud may requires hardware which you will own and operate
  • More upfront costs which may be more beneficial to larger companies
  • You may be responsible for ongoing maintenance
  • Security is totally up to you – public cloud companies will have security experts on call if something should go wrong
  • Remotely accessing the private cloud may create security concerns

Private Cloud Vendors include: IBM Cloud Private, Abacus Private CloudHPE Integrated Systems & HPE ProLiant for Private CloudCitrix, & Hitachi Vantara


The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud utilizes both private and public clouds – often with multiple vendors. Hybrid clouds offer more flexibility than Public Cloud options by choosing where to place IT applications and data based on your needs. The largest benefit to Hybrid Cloud is the flexibility to keep each aspect of your business as efficient as possible, but the major downside is managing multiple vendors and security across platforms.

Pros of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Flexibility and scalability depending on individual application needs within the company.  For example: interacting with clients on the public cloud, but keeping their data secure on a private network.
  • More secure than strictly Public Cloud, and the ability to choose which portions of IT will be placed in Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud
  • Good option for companies in transition from Public Cloud to Private Cloud
  • Many vendors offer managed hybrid cloud options

Cons of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Keeping track of multiple different platforms and vendors
  • Using both public and private clouds may require more complex IT management that could equate to higher overall costs
  • It shares some of the risks associated with Public Clouds

Examples of companies providing Hybrid Cloud: HPE Pointnext, Dell EMC,, VMware Cloud, & Oracle Cloud at Customer



Author’s Note:

I would like to offer a special thanks to the following people who provided great information on their respective company’s cloud offerings:





Brenda at HPE Live Chat who provided the following links:



IBM Live Chat which provided the following:


Timothy at Oracle Live Chat who provided the following:




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