A public cloud is simply where a cloud service is open to the general public. Anyone is able to access it. Some require you to purchase it and some allow you to access it for free. An example of this is Google App Engine. With it, you are able to host a website. Hosting means the actual files and code rest there. They do the work when it comes to making sure it stays online.
A public cloud is based on the concept of being able to deliver services over the internet. The benefit to this is that it allows companies, organizations, and individuals the ability to access resources without the need to have infrastructure. This is similar to gyms. Not everyone has the room to have their own gym. However, if you get a bunch of people together and pool their resources, they have the ability to have a gym fully stocked with all the needed equipment. Everyone is able to use the resources there without having the need to buy it all. The same thing is true with information systems. Databases, servers, and even phone services can all be hosted virtually.
Differences between public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud
There are three main types of clouds: public, private, and hybrid. A private cloud is one owned and operated by an organization that doesn’t allow the public to access it. An example of this would be if Boeing had a cloud where all their branches could access inventory databases. They would build and maintain it all in house. They may want this in order to ensure security and privacy. Boeing is a large company where they have information that needs to be kept secret. This setup would allow them to keep it secret.
A hybrid cloud is a mixture of public and private. Imagine that you have a large computing task that needs to be processed. Say this process is simulating and forecasting weather events on Mars in order to successfully land a rover. In order to share processing load, information may be processed in different clouds. This allows clouds to process information that they might be better suited for. The private cloud hosted by NASA might be better suited for collecting and processing patterns in the Martian atmosphere. At the same time, a public cloud hosted by MIT might be processing information on trajectories and landing protocols. By distributing the load, you would be better able to process the information without overloading one single system or cloud.
Advantages of Public Cloud
The benefit to using public clouds is that it allows you to access resources that you couldn’t afford before. For example, a web developer creates a website for a business. He/or she has to place the website somewhere for others to go to. This means they have to place the website on a web server. Most web developers do not have someplace in their office or house where they maintain a webserver with a good internet connection. Instead, they place the website on a web server maintained elsewhere. Most than likely, this is a company that has a large room with racks of servers they maintain. They lease that space out to the developer for them to host that site. Cloud computing is similar. The major difference is that the webserver is a virtual server hosted on much larger computers.
Purchasing services from a public cloud would be useful in cases where resources are limited. For example, a freelance programmer, designer, or web developer may want to use public clouds. In most cases, they don’t have the room to house many servers. Pricing can vary but will either be two things, flat monthly fee or based off usage. In the case of Google App Engine, it’s based off unit costs or how many Gigabytes are used.
Disadvantages of Public Cloud
The disadvantages of public clouds can be service and response times. Let’s say the website you are having hosted on Google Apps Engine goes down. You now have to fill out a ticket and wait for them to respond. This could take hours or even days. The problem could even be escalated and passed from person to person. However, this is also an advantage. While response times can be long, you still have access to the technical support. So, if something happens and fixing it is beyond the available skill level, the technical support is there.
When to use a Public Cloud
Unless you are part of a business that houses their own cloud, you will be using public clouds. Hybrid clouds are more used in cases where there is a very large project with several interested groups involved. Universities and corporations may use them for research and development. Resources are pooled together to get the job done. In most cases, any cloud that the normal person will run across will be a public cloud.
Public Cloud alternatives
The alternative to a public cloud is building and maintaining your own server. The benefit to this would be you have more freedom to do as you please. However, the work, resources, and technical knowledge needed may be too much. Another disadvantage is licenses and keys. If you plan on using Windows, this can cost a few hundred dollars. You can use open source software. This is free but comes with more setup and time. Either way, the solution will vary depending on the resources and needs. Both ways, public clouds continue to grow and may one day become a utility similar to water and electric.
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