Last updated on September 14th, 2022

What is public cloud? It is the first question that pops in your mind when you want to use public cloud for your business whether it is transport, hospitality, or e-commerce.

Many factors are there that you need to consider before you migrate to the public cloud.

The rapid growth and swift adoption of public cloud services by enterprises of all sizes constitutes a tectonic shift in the history of enterprise computing.

The footprint of cloud adoption continues to expand across enterprises — benefiting organizations as well as consumers.

While public cloud technologies have become ubiquitous in our lives now — whether we realize it or not — the ‘What,’ ‘Why,’ and ‘How’ of public cloud are worth paying attention to.

One could also argue that it’s precisely because these technologies have become ever-present in our lives that we need to have a clear and precise understanding of these concepts.

In this article, we look under the hood to understand what is public cloud and its benefits, examples along with used cases.

Finally, we differentiate public cloud from other clouds such as private cloud and hybrid cloud.

Table of Contents

Definition of Public Cloud

A simple public cloud definition can be: ‘It is a type of cloud computing in which a cloud service provider makes computing resources available to one and all over the public internet.’

That’s a 30,000-feet view of what constitutes public cloud. But this definition of cloud computing telescopes a lot of information into one sentence. To understand the details, we need to get closer to the ground.

Try Super-fast, Scalable & Secure Public Cloud Today!

Get Free $300 Credit

What is Public Cloud?

Public cloud is a cloud deployment model where computing resources are owned and operated by a provider and shared across multiple tenants via the Internet.

The physical location of any public cloud is a data center where, typically, virtualization creates virtual machines (VM) and these VMs have various compute, storage and networking resources associated with them.

Customers can access and use these VMs by paying monthly fees to the cloud service provider.

It also can host entire software applications that anyone can access and use by simply logging in from anywhere using any internet-connected device. Additionally, it can host enterprise-grade computing infrastructure to deliver services on a global scale.

AI, machine learning (ML) and Big Data analytics are advancing thanks to cloud computing solutions since public cloud-based development platforms are making the tools of AI and ML accessible to smaller organizations.

On the public cloud a customer can host data lakes containing petabytes, zettabytes, or yottabytes of data — with foolproof security.

Public cloud service providers could be owners of entire data center — or several data centers — with one data center containing thousands or even tens of thousands of servers.

Smaller public cloud solution providers could rent space inside data centers to create virtualized infrastructure which is then made available to the public — for a fee — as various cloud services.

Now that we have covered the ‘What’ of public cloud, next we look at the ‘How’ and ‘Why’.

How Public Cloud Works

public cloud infographics

There are certain characteristics that any public cloud has.

These characteristics include:

  • A multi-tenancy architecture – This means that multiple users — or tenants — harness shared infrastructure (such as computing resources) to run workloads. Every tenant’s data separated and remains isolated from the data of other tenants.
  • Scalability – It offers on-demand IT resources that are available on a self-service provisioning basis over the public internet or via a dedicated network.
  • Flexibility – Public cloud resources are elastic and available with pay-per-use or pay-as-you-go pricing.
  • High Availability – Public cloud hosting providers typically provide 99.99% SLA uptime guarantee.
  • Data Security – A customer’s data is stored with high security on public cloud. The security features and tools cloud providers include are DDoS protection, anti-malware protection, cloud firewalls, and more.

Why Public Cloud?

The days are gone when you had to set up everything yourself if needed the IT resources.

Now, you can rent sophisticated AI services or developer tools you need as well as compute power including GPUs for virtually any workload.

Everything is available on public cloud and maintained/updated by the cloud service provider. You can pay a monthly fee to harness as much or as little resources as you need.

Even startups can achieve global scale thanks to no CAPEX — since public cloud models operate based on OPEX.

Not surprisingly, Gartner had projected the public cloud services market to grow 17.5 percent in 2019 to reach $213.4 billion, up from $182.4 billion in 2018.

Gartner had forecast worldwide public cloud end-user spending to grow 23% in 2021 to reach $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020.

The latest Gartner forecast projects worldwide public cloud end-user spending to reach nearly $500 billion in 2022, up from $411 billion in 2021. And in 2023, public cloud end-user spending is forecast to reach nearly $600 billion.

Advantages of Public Cloud

Organizations are moving to the cloud because of the its flexibility and other business benefits.

Here are a few of the advantages of public cloud:

  • Cost savings – Moving your organization’s IT operations and workloads to public cloud can save you a lot of money. It is inexpensive compared to private clouds. Because the cloud service provider is able to maximize the utilization of their compute server, storage and other hardware. With multi-tenancy architecture, the public cloud infrastructure is utilized in the most efficient manner possible.
  • Latest technologies – Cloud solution providers offer the latest technologies to their clients including AI/ML techniques, serverless computing, containerized application development, and more.
  • Less server management – Cloud provider will manage servers and networking hardware for you; therefore, you don’t need to hire more IT personnel that eventually will save you money.
  • Scalability – Cloud resources are highly scalable and can meet sudden demand or traffic spikes. This makes public cloud highly useful for small and medium businesses (SMBs) as well as startups who like to run a lean set-up without having to make huge infrastructure investments which are a capital expenditure item without any assured or guaranteed returns.
  • Flexibility – A customer can access all the public cloud services from a single dashboard. For SMBs including established software development companies, startups, and other businesses, the flexibility offered by public cloud is of great benefit since no one wants to be saddled with a huge infrastructure nor do they want to be in a situation where their business growth is hampered by a lack of server resources. One can subscribe and unsubscribe to different cloud services based on their changing requirements. The monthly cloud service bills will vary accordingly — it will be a highly manageable OPEX item rather than a huge CAPEX one.
  • Security – Standard public cloud security measures like protection from DDoS attacks or anti-malware protection are an improvement for SMBs from a security perspective.

Also Read: Block Storage Vs Object Storage

What Are Some Public Cloud Examples?

Every person who uses computers and the internet interacts with the public cloud in some way. If you use some web-based email services or online versions of Word/Excel or storage services like Dropbox, you are using public cloud services provided by various companies.

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, HBO, Hulu, and others are examples of services offered from public cloud.

Enterprise CRM applications like Salesforce or accounting applications like Intuit QuickBooks are some more examples of what’s possible through cloud.

Also Read: Cloud Migration Strategy

Public Cloud vs Private Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud

Cloud is versatile enough to meet the needs of different enterprises who have different resource levels and need to adhere to various regulatory regimes and need to meet various compliance requirements.

In a scenario where an organization wants complete control over the cloud infrastructure and needs to keep data in-house for safety reasons behind its own firewall or to meet regulatory requirements, a private cloud may be the right option.

Nevertheless, public cloud provides an abundance of security options as well including anti-malware protection, DDoS protection, ransomware protection, cloud firewall, and more.

Private cloud is an expensive option as it will be created entirely on-premises and the customer/owner of the private cloud will not only be paying for the cost of the server/RAM/storage hardware but also for their upkeep, upgradation, and maintenance.

Offerings such as virtual private clouds and managed private clouds are making private clouds somewhat less complicated to set up and manage since third-party vendors step-in and deploy, configure and manage the cloud on behalf of the customer.

However, if you want nearly unlimited compute/memory/storage at your disposal without making any massive upfront investments, then public cloud should clearly be your go-to solution.

Similarly, if you are looking for a scalable and elastic service, then public clouds will also take care of unexpected surges in traffic and you’ll be able to add capacity almost instantaneously.

Public cloud takes a big load off you with its OPEX model versus on-premises set-ups which would require huge CAPEX.

Hybrid cloud combines both public cloud and private cloud. Essentially, you choose to shift some of your workload to a public cloud and keep some workloads in a private cloud. The rationale for such an arrangement might have to do with data security or regulatory requirements.

You might like to keep critical and confidential customer data in a private cloud which is a completely dedicated service your organization owns or has rented from a private cloud service provider.

The public cloud can take care of a portion of your organization’s workload — say, email services or development or testing environments.

Also Read: Hybrid Cloud vs Multi Cloud

Public Cloud Models — IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

Public cloud providers cater to a variety of end users and have to meet diverse use cases. Companies can benefit from public cloud by choosing the type of cloud service model they want or the cloud model that best meets their requirements.

There are three core cloud service models.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

In this cloud service model, a customer can access virtualized computers, storage, memory, and networking resources in a flexible and scalable ‘on-demand’ manner.

Companies can use these cloud resources in a secure and high availability fashion to perform a variety of actions — whether it be to develop applications or to run machine learning algorithms or something else that helps those companies to innovate in their business or to derive greater profitability or to derive greater insights into customers.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In this cloud service model, application developers get a ready-made platform including hardware, software and other infrastructure. Developers can use this platform to build and run their applications or websites. The public cloud service provider manages the platform infrastructure.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

In this cloud service model, users get access to cloud-hosted applications. Anyone can access these services via the internet using a web browser.

Examples of SaaS applications include Microsoft 365, Apple iCloud, Salesforce, Dropbox, Netflix, etc. Users no longer have to install the software on their personal desktops or laptops.

Whether your aim is to build a resilient organization to achieve your strategic ambitions or to achieve business success in fresh domains, cloud often has the tools and resources that’ll help you accomplish your targets.

You could develop innovative new products with the help of AI/ML APIs or services offered by public cloud service providers or you could integrate cloud into your supply-chain to create a future-proof platform.

Cloud has helped digitalization of organizations in numerous ways that has enabled collaboration and remote work and empowered employees to achieve more.

Ace Cloud Hosting’s public cloud is secure, scalable, flexible, and globally available. Whether you are driven by the financial benefits of moving from a CAPEX to an OPEX model or you are looking for agility in developing and delivering new or enhanced IT products or services, investing in public cloud is virtually a sine qua non.

Chat With A Solutions Consultant