private cloud vs public cloud

Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud — What’s the difference?

The overall benefits of cloud computing are apparent. It provides scalability, instant provisioning, virtualized resources, and the ability to expand your server base quickly. But what is the best method—a private cloud or a public cloud? This blog will help clear the cloud of confusion so that you can make the best decision for your company.

What is a private cloud?

Private cloud looks a lot like what we used to call an on-premise data center to the skeptic. However, private clouds use virtualization, software (e.g., JD Edwards, SAP), and automation to organize infrastructure.Together, these provide flexibility synonymous with the public cloud without sacrificing control over security and data privacy.

Private cloud hosting is a single-tenant environment where the hardware, storage, and network are dedicated to a single client or company. Unlike public clouds, private cloud maintenance, provisioning, and day-to-day management typically occur in-house. Cloud management includes setting up firewalls. Whether running software on a public-facing server or using actual hardware, the firewall prevents anyone from accessing resources without proper credentials (e.g., user ID, passcode, special key number).

Many medium-sized to large organizations choose private cloud for benefits, including:

  • Increased security — Lowering the risk of access by non-users via the internet or in the same data center
  • Compliance — Meeting Sarbanes Oxley, PCI, and HIPAA standards
  • Customization — Offering the ability to specify hardware, network, and storage performance
  • Hybrid deployment — Integrating dedicated servers to run high-speed database applications. (This isn’t wholly possible in a public cloud.)

Fully-managed private clouds are not typically delivered through a utility model because the hardware is dedicated. However, a virtual private cloud provider will offer pay-as-you-go with the bonus of specifically provisioned hardware, network, and storage configurations.

What is a public cloud?

When most people hear the word “cloud,” they envision a public cloud. Public clouds started as applications hosted over the internet or software as a service (SaaS). Today’s public clouds include applications, infrastructure, and even data storage. They are provisioned, maintained, and managed by a third-party vendor who assumes responsibility for the entire cloud infrastructure and all the customers accessing it.

Public cloud is a multi-tenant environment, meaning you typically buy a server slice in a cloud computing environment shared by other clients. For this reason, it’s most often used for web servers or development systems with less rigorous security and compliance requirements.

Cloud platforms, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) provide these advantages:

  • Flexible pricing — Allowing users to pay by the hour for only the compute resources used
  • No contracts — Letting users spin up and shut down servers as needed
  • Self-management — Giving technical buyers the ability to set up and manage server details

Cloud computing continues to impact how IT resources are delivered. Understanding the advantages and limitations of private cloud and public cloud can help you make the best decision for your company’s future.

Need help selecting the right cloud for your business? ERP Suites is a private cloud provider and public cloud partner. We align cloud services with business goals to help you maximize your cloud technology investment. Learn more at