Picture of cloud computing

Just as no two clouds in the sky are exactly the same, so too are each of the cloud computing models unique. To help you gain a better understanding of each of your cloud computing options, we’ve broken down the four models below:

1. Public clouds

You may not be able to tell someone what a public cloud is off the top of your head, but you’ve certainly benefited from their existence. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure are a few of the most prominent. If your IT infrastructure is being handled by the best-managed service provider in your area, they will most likely have you connected via one of these public cloud providers. 

All “public cloud” really means is that it’s a cloud environment not owned and exclusively used by you and/or your company. 

2. Private clouds

Given that definition of “public cloud,” you’ve probably already figured out what a private cloud is. These cloud environments are generally tucked away behind firewalls, ensuring the sole tenant has ultimate protection. 

Interestingly, a private cloud no longer has to be part of a company’s on-premises IT infrastructure. It’s now possible to have a private cloud hosted on a rented data center. 

This new development in cloud infrastructure has opened the way for a few subcategories of private clouds, including dedicated clouds, which are private clouds that have been partitioned from larger clouds. These dedicated clouds could be partitioned from a public or private cloud, and they can be incredibly useful for businesses that wish to give certain departments their own cloud environment. 

3. Hybrid clouds

Once again, hybrid clouds kind of define themselves once you have a basic understanding of the first two cloud models. However, they can get quite complex. Hybrid clouds are fantastic for businesses that need to work compartmentalization into their IT infrastructure. Your hybrid model could comprise a public and private cloud, multiple private clouds, or multiple public clouds. These separate yet connected IT environments allow you to move apps in and out and control user access as needed.

Hybrid clouds allow scope for scaling up or down, and they are generally configured and managed via an orchestration platform. If you’re considering the hybrid cloud computing model, it’s crucial to have an IT department or Managed Service Provider capable of handling the complexities for you. 

4. Multi-clouds

With multi-clouds, we’re going to get a bit meta (and no, we’re not talking about the Facebook mutation). Every hybrid cloud is, by definition, a multi-cloud. However, not all multi-clouds are necessarily hybrid clouds. 

The term “multi-cloud” describes any distributed configuration of separate clouds. That orchestration platform we mentioned before that allows for connection and control of separate clouds is what transforms a multi-cloud into a hybrid cloud. 

The benefit of multi-clouds, whether they be hybrid or not, is that they provide greater security for the companies employing them. They allow for greater protection of sensitive data and in some cases, can be used as storage space for cloud-based disaster recovery

Cloud computing can be quite a complex topic for the uninitiated, and we haven’t even touched on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), or Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS). Hopefully, however, we have been successful in making the four cloud computing models a little clearer and easier to understand. Though the topic is complex, we encourage you to continue educating yourself and delving deeper into the details. The operational efficiency and security of your business may well depend on it.