What is Public Cloud?
How is public cloud different from typical on-site IT infrastructure?
Hosted within a dedicated virtual space within traditional, physical servers, public clouds give users remote access to enterprise-level processing and storage. Compared to typical on-site IT infrastructure, the benefits of public cloud include being easier, faster and less expensive to set up and manage, offering companies nearly endless ways to scale and flex their required IT resources as needed.
Public cloud deployment models are a common solution for companies with specific or predictable storage and processing needs, and those public cloud services are delivered by third-party providers in one of several models, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). In these scenarios, the third-party provider, rather than the end user, takes ownership of managing and updating the public cloud.
Despite the connotation of being “public”, public cloud security still exists, providing companies with multiple layers of defence. These layers include containers, stringent access procedures, encryption for data moving in and out of storage, cyberthreat detection and analysis, and other vendor-certified protections that are compliant with industry regulations.
According to McAfee, 52 per cent of organisations say they have better security in the cloud compared to on-site IT.
How does public cloud work?
IT administrators create a public cloud network using any number of virtual machines (VMs), which are partitioned from large sets of third-party-owned data centres. By virtualising their compute, processing and storage resources, third-party providers can offer end users an array of cloud services, from simple storage options to software applications and development tools – all accessible with an internet connection. End users from many businesses can access these services though mobile applications or other web portals.
Third-party providers will often charge a flat or pay-per-use fee for their services. In return, the public cloud provider takes over day-to-day IT management, including public cloud security. Examples of public cloud providers include Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and many others.
Public cloud vs private cloud vs hybrid cloud
Public cloud is not the only kind of cloud that companies can harness. Depending on functionality and who maintains it, a cloud can be classified into two additional categories, each with their benefits.
For most companies, this model is the most cost efficient, letting them scale on-demand resources when needed and outsource time-consuming management to a third party.
Private cloud functions exactly like public cloud, except that it is owned, operated and secured by independent enterprises or organisations at their own facilities. Compared to public cloud, this model requires more upfront costs for the initial infrastructure. While private cloud may be less expensive in the long term, it does not offer the same level of flexibility as public cloud.
This model combines aspects of public and private cloud, where certain resources remain public and others are maintained on site. Hybrid cloud is an attractive option for companies with diverse workloads that may or may not require certain levels of security and bandwidth.
Public cloud modern applications
Public cloud solutions are one of the most prevalent IT infrastructures used today for compute and storage. Some of the most common examples include Google Workspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Dropbox and Microsoft offerings such as Microsoft 365 and Azure, as well as streaming services like Netflix. In each case, the public shares the same resources through an internet connection, using passwords as the first line of security.
Google Workspace offers several applications, from word processing to virtual storage and meeting rooms. The applications are used by one or many individuals within an organisation or enterprise, and often at the same time. Public cloud solutions allow data of all kinds to be accessed, edited and shared, enabling types of productivity that would not be possible, or accessible, with strictly on-premises IT. Today, workforces can work and access data from almost anywhere in the world, redefining how many companies operate and collaborate.
Public cloud storage options also provide enhanced security and backup capabilities. In the case of server failure or corruption, data uploaded to the cloud remains intact.
Public clouds are also ideal for flexible or variable workloads, providing users with access to on-demand resources at the proverbial “click of a button”, giving companies a more efficient method to limit wasted IT footprint.
HPE and public cloud
Analysts estimate that nearly 163 ZBs of data will be created by 2025
Over time, HPE cloud management solutions have increased the likelihood of achieving ROI within three years by 287 per cent, reduced unplanned downtime by 85 per cent, and improved overall IT efficiency by 35 per cent
When partnering with service provider CGI Portugal, a leading IT consulting and solutions company, HPE aided their service offering by delivering a robust, consumption-based storage and backup solution that helped address a broad set of business-critical needs and bolster data protection. With the added flexible storage and managed analytics, CGI Portugal could better address specific and variable demands. Overall, CGI Portugal reduced storage costs by 70 per cent while increasing storage flexibility.