Public Cloud Computing in Detail
In this article, I am going to discuss Public Cloud Computing in Detail. Please read our previous article, where we discussed the Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing. At the end of this article, you will understand what is Public Cloud Computing and the advantages and limitations of the public cloud, and when to use Public Cloud.
Types of Clouds in Cloud Computing?
In cloud computing, there are three main types of clouds that represent different deployment models and service offerings. These types are defined based on how resources are shared, managed, and accessed. The three types of clouds are:
- Public clouds are operated and managed by third-party service providers and offer computing resources and services to multiple organizations or users over the Internet.
- Resources are shared in a multi-tenant environment, providing cost-effective scalability and flexibility.
- Examples of public cloud providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and IBM Cloud.
- Private clouds are dedicated cloud environments that are used exclusively by a single organization. They can be hosted on-premises or by a third-party provider.
- Private clouds offer enhanced control, security, and customization compared to public clouds.
- Organizations may choose private clouds for sensitive data, compliance requirements, or specific application needs.
- Hybrid clouds combine elements of both public and private clouds, allowing data and applications to be shared between them.
- Organizations can use a mix of public and private resources based on workload requirements, data sensitivity, and cost considerations.
- Hybrid clouds offer flexibility, scalability, and the ability to optimize resources for different use cases.
Each type of cloud has its own benefits and considerations, and the choice of which type to use depends on an organization’s specific needs, goals, and IT strategy. Some organizations may adopt a multi-cloud approach, which involves using multiple cloud providers across different deployment models to achieve a balance of features and services.
- Public cloud (will discuss in this article)
- Private cloud (will be discussed in our next article)
- Hybrid cloud (will be discussed in our upcoming article)
What is Public Cloud in Cloud Computing?
A public cloud in cloud computing refers to a cloud computing environment that is hosted and managed by a third-party service provider and made available to multiple organizations or users over the internet. In a public cloud, computing resources such as virtual machines, storage, networking, and services are shared among multiple customers in a multi-tenant model.
A public cloud is a platform that uses the standard cloud computing model to make resources such as virtual machines, applications, or storage available to users remotely or, you can say, over the internet. That means the public cloud is a type of computing in which a service provider makes the resources available to the public via the Internet.
Some of the public cloud providers offer the resources for free, while the clients need to pay for other resources either by subscription or a pay-per-usage model.
The Cloud services are available to anyone, i.e., individual users as well as organizations, to start using public cloud resources and services. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are examples of a public cloud.
We need to access public cloud services and resources over the internet. So, we need an internet connection to access and manage cloud services and resources. In order to manage the cloud services and resources, the cloud service providers generally provide a web portal.
We need to pay a monthly fee to the public cloud service provider for the cloud services and resources we use. This monthly fee is like your utility bills, like water or electricity. It follows the pay-as-you-go model, meaning you pay for what you use.
The most important point you need to remember is that anyone can use the public cloud, whether an individual or an organization. So, multiple organizations or individuals will share the same resources as hardware, storage, and network devices in the public cloud. In cloud computing terminology, this is called multi-tenancy. In public cloud computing, it also may be possible that your organization’s data may be stored along with other organizations’ data on the same storage device.
Key characteristics of a public cloud include:
- Multi-Tenancy: Multiple organizations or users share the same physical infrastructure and resources while maintaining logical isolation and data security.
- Scalability: Public clouds offer the ability to scale resources up or down based on demand rapidly. This elasticity allows customers to access additional computing power or storage as needed.
- Self-Service: Users can provision and manage resources on-demand through self-service portals, allowing for flexibility and agility in resource allocation.
- Pay-as-You-Go Model: Public cloud services are typically billed on a pay-as-you-go basis, where customers only pay for the resources they consume. This cost-effective model eliminates the need for large upfront investments.
- Global Accessibility: Public clouds provide access to resources from anywhere with an internet connection, enabling geographically distributed teams and users to collaborate effectively.
- Managed Services: Public cloud providers offer a wide range of managed services, such as databases, machine learning, analytics, and more, allowing customers to leverage advanced capabilities without managing the underlying infrastructure.
- Reliability and Availability: Public cloud providers offer high levels of availability and redundancy, with data replicated across multiple data centers to ensure resilience and disaster recovery.
- Automation and Orchestration: Public cloud environments support the automation and orchestration of resources, enabling the deployment and management of complex applications and workflows.
Cost Savings: The pay-as-you-go model and shared infrastructure of public clouds can lead to cost savings compared to traditional on-premises data centers.
Types of Public Cloud in Cloud Computing:
In cloud computing, public clouds can be categorized into different types based on their service offerings and focus. Each type of public cloud provides distinct benefits and is designed to address specific use cases. Here are some common types of public clouds:
General-Purpose Public Clouds:
- These comprehensive public cloud platforms offer a wide range of services, including computing, storage, networking, databases, machine learning, analytics, and more.
- Examples: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud.
Compute-Centric Public Clouds:
- These public clouds primarily focus on providing scalable and powerful computing resources suitable for running applications, workloads, and services that require substantial processing power.
- Examples: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Google Compute Engine (GCE), and Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines.
Storage-Centric Public Clouds:
- These clouds specialize in offering scalable and cost-effective storage services suitable for data backup, archiving, content distribution, and data-intensive applications.
- Examples: Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Google Cloud Storage, and Microsoft Azure Blob Storage.
Database and Data Management Public Clouds:
- These public clouds focus on providing managed database services, data warehousing, analytics, and data-related services for processing and managing large datasets.
- Examples: Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service), Google Cloud SQL, Microsoft Azure SQL Database.
Container and Kubernetes-Centric Public Clouds:
- These clouds offer managed container services and Kubernetes orchestration platforms for deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications.
- Examples: Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
Serverless and Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) Public Clouds:
- These clouds provide serverless computing platforms where developers can deploy code in the form of functions that are executed in response to events without managing the underlying infrastructure.
- Examples: AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, Azure Functions.
AI and Machine Learning Public Clouds:
- These clouds focus on providing AI and machine learning services, including training and deploying machine learning models, natural language processing, and computer vision.
- Examples: AWS AI/ML services, Google Cloud AI Platform, Azure Machine Learning.
IoT and Edge Public Clouds:
- These clouds offer services and tools for processing and analyzing data generated by Internet of Things (IoT) devices and edge computing environments.
- Examples: AWS IoT Core, Google Cloud IoT, Azure IoT.
Content Delivery and CDN Public Clouds:
- These clouds specialize in content delivery networks (CDNs) that distribute digital content and media to end-users with low latency and high availability.
- Examples: Amazon CloudFront, Google Cloud CDN, and Azure Content Delivery Network.
Application Development and PaaS Public Clouds:
- These clouds provide developers with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, simplifying application deployment, management, and integration.
- Examples: Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure App Service, AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
These types of public clouds cater to different business needs and technical requirements. Organizations should consider their specific use cases, workload characteristics, and desired services when selecting a public cloud provider or type that aligns with their objectives.
Benefits of Public Cloud in Cloud Computing
Public cloud computing offers a range of benefits that make it a popular choice for organizations of all sizes and industries. These benefits stem from public cloud environments’ shared, scalable, and on-demand nature. Here are some key advantages of using a public cloud:
- Cost-Efficiency: Public clouds operate on a pay-as-you-go model, allowing organizations to pay only for the resources they consume. This eliminates the need for large upfront capital expenditures and reduces operational costs associated with maintaining on-premises infrastructure.
- No upfront Capex: In the public cloud, you don’t require to buy any expensive hardware or set up your own data center. The public cloud manages everything. So, no upfront capital expenditure. As the underlying infrastructure is shared across all individuals and organizations, the public cloud service can be implemented at a much lower cost than the private cloud. We will discuss the private cloud in our next article.
It supports pay as you go model. The public cloud services implement the pay-as-you-go model. That means you only need to pay for what you use. It’s something like your monthly water or electricity bills.
No maintenance headaches. As a client, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the public cloud, i.e., replacing the failed hardware, installing security patches, updates, etc. Everything is going to be managed by your public cloud service provider.
- Scalability and Flexibility: Public clouds provide the ability to scale resources up or down quickly based on demand. This scalability allows organizations to respond to changing workloads and accommodate peak usage without overprovisioning.
- Rapid Deployment: Public clouds enable rapid provisioning of resources, reducing the time required to launch new applications or services. This agility supports faster time-to-market for products and services.
- Global Accessibility: Public clouds offer accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection, enabling geographically distributed teams and users to collaborate seamlessly.
- Resource Optimization: Public clouds optimize resource utilization through multi-tenancy and resource sharing, leading to better efficiency and reduced waste compared to traditional on-premises setups.
- Managed Services and Innovation: Public cloud providers offer a wide range of managed services, such as databases, machine learning, analytics, and more. This allows organizations to leverage advanced technologies and capabilities without the need for extensive expertise in those areas.
- Reliability and High Availability: Public cloud providers operate multiple data centers with high levels of redundancy and failover capabilities, ensuring high availability and minimizing downtime.
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Public clouds provide built-in disaster recovery options, allowing organizations to replicate data and applications across geographic regions for data protection and business continuity.
- Security and Compliance: Public cloud providers invest heavily in security measures and compliance certifications. They often offer a broad array of security services and tools to help organizations meet their security and compliance requirements.
- Collaboration and Remote Work: Public clouds facilitate collaboration among remote teams by providing centralized access to resources, applications, and data, enhancing productivity and enabling remote work scenarios.
- Innovation Acceleration: Public clouds provide a platform for experimenting with new technologies, rapidly developing and testing applications, and innovating without physical infrastructure constraints.
- Green Computing: Public clouds optimize resource utilization and energy consumption, contributing to a more environmentally friendly computing model compared to traditional data centers.
- Reduced Maintenance Overhead: Organizations can offload the operational burden of infrastructure maintenance, updates, and patches to the cloud provider, allowing internal IT teams to focus on strategic initiatives.
- Global Reach and Customer Reach: Public clouds have a widespread presence, enabling organizations to deploy applications closer to their target audience for improved performance and reduced latency.
- Cost Predictability: Public clouds offer transparent pricing and billing, making it easier for organizations to predict and manage costs.
- Location Independence: As public cloud services are available over the internet, the client located at any location can access and manage it. What the client need is only an internet-enabled device. This gives any enterprise, individual, or organization significant opportunities, such as online document collaboration from multiple locations or remote access to IT infrastructure.
- Highly scalable: You will never run out of resources in a public cloud. When a client requires more resources, platforms, or services, he signs up with the public cloud vendor and gets access to the required resources whenever required. At the same time, the client also reduces the resources as per requirement. So, based on the business need, the client can scale the resources up and down even though you can automate this by setting threshold limits.
- Highly reliable: A public cloud is a vast network of servers. The total number of servers or networks for creating a public cloud and redundancy configurations indicate that any hardware failure, power failure, natural disaster, or other crisis does not result in data loss. The cloud service will continue to run without any issues. So, the main objective is the public cloud is highly reliable.
Flexibility: There are several services provided by clouds, such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, available, and all these services are based on the public cloud model and are always ready to be accessible over the internet. Almost all computing requirements are fulfilled by the public cloud and can benefit private and enterprise clients.
Public clouds are particularly beneficial for startups, small and medium-sized businesses, and enterprises looking to streamline operations, reduce costs, and accelerate innovation without significant upfront infrastructure investments. However, organizations should carefully assess their specific needs, data security considerations, compliance requirements, and workload characteristics before adopting a public cloud strategy.
Limitations of Public Cloud in Cloud Computing
While public cloud computing offers numerous advantages, it’s important also to consider its limitations and potential challenges. These limitations vary depending on the specific use case, organization, and industry requirements. Here are some common limitations of using a public cloud:
Data Security and Privacy Concerns:
- Storing sensitive data in a shared environment may raise security and privacy concerns, especially for industries with stringent compliance requirements or data residency regulations.
- Data breaches or unauthorized access to data can be more concerning in a public cloud compared to private or on-premises solutions.
Limited Control and Customization:
- Public cloud services are standardized to cater to a broad user base, limiting the level of customization and control over infrastructure, networking, and security settings.
- Organizations may need to adapt their processes to fit within the constraints of the cloud provider’s offerings.
- The performance of public cloud resources may vary based on factors such as network latency, virtualization overhead, and resource contention in a multi-tenant environment.
- Applications with strict latency or performance requirements may encounter challenges.
- Organizations relying heavily on a specific public cloud provider’s services and tools may face challenges if they switch providers due to vendor lock-in.
- Migrating applications and data between different cloud providers can be complex and time-consuming.
Downtime and Outages:
- While public cloud providers strive to maintain high availability, they are not immune to service outages, impacting application availability and disrupting business operations.
Compliance and Regulatory Challenges:
- Organizations operating in heavily regulated industries may face challenges in ensuring compliance with industry-specific regulations when using public cloud services.
- Public cloud applications heavily depend on network connectivity. Disruptions or slowdowns in internet connectivity can impact access to cloud resources.
- While the pay-as-you-go model can offer cost savings, cloud costs can spiral if resources are not properly managed or if workloads are not optimized for the cloud environment.
Data Transfer Costs:
- Transferring large amounts of data to and from a public cloud can result in additional data transfer costs, especially if data needs to be moved frequently.
Resource Sharing and Noisy Neighbors:
- In a multi-tenant environment, resource sharing among different customers can lead to “noisy neighbor” effects, where one customer’s resource consumption affects the performance of others.
Dependency on External Services:
- Applications relying on third-party services from the public cloud ecosystem may experience disruptions if those services face issues or changes.
Latency and Response Time:
- Applications requiring real-time processing or low latency may face challenges in achieving desired performance due to network latencies inherent in public cloud environments.
Complex Pricing Models:
- Public cloud pricing models can be complex, involving multiple factors such as computing, storage, data transfer, and additional services, making cost prediction and management more challenging.
Limited Geographic Control:
- Organizations requiring specific geographic control over data storage and processing may find it challenging to ensure compliance with data residency or sovereignty requirements.
Lack of Physical Control:
- Organizations may have concerns about not having physical control over the hardware and infrastructure where their applications and data are hosted.
It’s crucial for organizations to carefully evaluate these limitations against their specific needs and requirements before adopting a public cloud strategy. Some workloads and applications may be better suited for other cloud models or deployment options based on the considerations mentioned above.
Use Cases of Public Cloud in Cloud Computing:
Public cloud computing is well-suited for a wide range of use cases across different industries and organizational sizes. Public clouds’ scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness make them a popular choice for various applications and workloads. Here are some common use cases of public cloud in cloud computing:
Web Hosting and Websites:
- Public clouds are ideal for hosting websites and web applications, providing scalability to handle varying levels of traffic and demand.
Development and Testing Environments:
- Public clouds offer on-demand resources for software development, testing, and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines.
- Applications with varying workloads, such as seasonal e-commerce websites, can benefit from the ability to scale resources up or down based on demand.
Big Data Analytics:
- Public clouds provide the computing power and storage necessary for processing and analyzing large volumes of data, making them suitable for big data analytics and machine learning workloads.
Backup and Disaster Recovery:
- Organizations can use public clouds for cost-effective data backup, archiving, and disaster recovery solutions with built-in redundancy and availability.
Content Delivery and Streaming:
- Public clouds offer global content delivery networks (CDNs) for distributing media, streaming videos, and delivering content with low latency to end-users.
Software as a Service (SaaS):
- SaaS providers can leverage public clouds to deliver software applications to customers over the Internet, reducing the need for clients to install and manage software locally.
Collaboration and Communication Tools:
- Public clouds support collaboration and communication tools like email, document sharing, and video conferencing, enabling remote work and efficient team collaboration.
Test and Development Environments:
- Public clouds provide cost-effective, isolated environments for creating and testing new applications, services, and features.
Internet of Things (IoT):
- Public clouds can process and analyze data generated by IoT devices, enabling real-time insights and supporting applications like smart cities, industrial monitoring, and healthcare.
Mobile App Backend:
- Public clouds can host the backend infrastructure for mobile applications, providing scalable and reliable services for user authentication, data storage, and push notifications.
- Public clouds can power online gaming platforms, providing the necessary computing resources to handle multiplayer interactions and game rendering.
E-commerce and Online Retail:
- Public clouds offer the scalability needed to support e-commerce websites, handle online transactions, and manage inventory and customer data.
Media and Entertainment:
- Public clouds render, transcode, and manage digital content in the media and entertainment industries.
Educational and Training Platforms:
- Public clouds provide educational institutions and training providers with scalable resources for online learning platforms, course content, and simulations.
These use cases highlight the diverse applications of public cloud computing, from hosting websites to running advanced analytics and enabling innovative services across various industries. Organizations can leverage the benefits of public clouds to reduce costs, improve agility, and accelerate the deployment of services and applications. However, the selection of a specific cloud deployment model should align with an organization’s requirements, data sensitivity, compliance needs, and overall IT strategy.
Public Cloud Service Providers:
Public cloud service providers offer a wide range of cloud computing resources and services that organizations can leverage to deploy applications, store data, and innovate. Here are some of the most prominent and well-known public cloud service providers:
Amazon Web Services (AWS):
- AWS is one of the largest and most comprehensive public cloud providers, offering a vast array of computing, storage, database, networking, and AI/ML services.
- Azure provides a comprehensive suite of cloud services, including virtual machines, databases, AI, analytics, and a range of developer tools, tightly integrated with Microsoft products.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP):
- GCP offers a powerful set of cloud services, including computing, storage, databases, machine learning, and big data analytics, with a strong focus on data-driven applications.
- IBM Cloud provides various cloud services, including computing, storage, AI/ML, analytics, and blockchain solutions, emphasizing hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI):
- OCI offers computing, storage, database, networking, and AI/ML services, targeting enterprises and emphasizing performance and security.
- Alibaba Cloud is a leading public cloud provider in Asia, offering a wide range of cloud services, including computing, storage, databases, and AI/ML.
- DigitalOcean focuses on simplicity and ease of use, offering scalable virtual machines, managed databases, storage, and developer-friendly tools.
- Salesforce is known for its cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform and offers various business applications and services.
Adobe Experience Cloud:
- Adobe provides cloud services for marketing, advertising, analytics, and commerce, helping businesses deliver personalized and engaging customer experiences.
- VMware offers cloud infrastructure and management services, enabling organizations to extend their on-premises environments to the public cloud.
Red Hat OpenShift:
- Red Hat’s OpenShift is a Kubernetes-based container platform that provides developer tools, automation, and management for deploying and scaling containerized applications.
SAP Cloud Platform:
- SAP offers cloud services for building, deploying, and managing applications on a platform optimized for SAP software and business processes.
- Heroku is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that simplifies application deployment, management, and scaling, particularly for developers using popular programming languages.
- Rackspace offers managed cloud services, helping organizations design, deploy, and manage their cloud infrastructure on various public cloud platforms.
These are just a few examples of public cloud service providers, and the landscape is continually evolving with new entrants and offerings. Organizations should carefully evaluate their requirements, pricing, services, and geographic coverage when selecting a public cloud provider that aligns with their business needs and objectives.
In the next article, I am going to discuss Private Cloud in detail. In this article, I try to explain Public Cloud Computing in detail. I hope now you understand Public Cloud in detail in cloud computing.
About the Author: Pranaya Rout
Pranaya Rout has published more than 3,000 articles in his 11-year career. Pranaya Rout has very good experience with Microsoft Technologies, Including C#, VB, ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web API, EF, EF Core, ADO.NET, LINQ, SQL Server, MYSQL, Oracle, ASP.NET Core, Cloud Computing, Microservices, Design Patterns and still learning new technologies.