Cloud

Hybrid, private, or public cloud? Make sure you know the differences

Trying to understand and articulate the differences between public, private, and hybrid cloud? Here's a quick breakdown.

This article was originally published on ZDNet.

Cloud computing has transformed from a niche solution to the standard way of running IT in the enterprise. The biggest question today is often which type of cloud to run: public, private, or hybrid.

Much of the momentum today is around hybrid. To help you better understand the hybrid cloud, let's quickly break down the differences between the three types of clouds.

1. Public Cloud

When most people hear cloud, it's the public cloud that they think of. While this originally started out as applications hosted over the internet—Software as a Service—today's public cloud can involve applications, infrastructure, or data storage served up by a third party vendor. And, it's useful to think of the three separately.

2. Private Cloud


To the cynics, the "private cloud" looks a lot like what we used to simply call an on-premises data center. The difference is that you use virtualization, software, and automation to organize your infrastructure like the public cloud. While this offers some of the flexibility found in the public cloud, the big benefit for private cloud is that it gives you more control over security, data privacy, and compliance.

3. Hybrid Cloud

Since it started as a marketing term, the definition of hybrid cloud can vary. Some see it as mixing and matching your apps, data, and infrastructure. For example, storing your data in the private cloud while running your app in the public cloud. Others see it simply as the use of multiple cloud services, orchestrated to work together. The key point is that this approach moves away from a monolithic either-or policy for public vs. private cloud, but one that relies on adaptability and a best-of-breed approach, which is why it's rapidly becoming the most popular cloud posture.

mutlicloud.jpg
Image: iStockphoto/shutter_m

Special report

To learn more, read our full special report "The Art of the Hybrid Cloud." You can read all of the articles on ZDNet or you can download them in one PDF on TechRepublic, available for free to registered users.

Also see

About Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox