Cloud Deployment Models explained: Public, Private, Hybrid, and Multicloud

Neal Davis
4 min readJun 17, 2024

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Cloud computing services can be delivered through various deployment models, each offering unique benefits and catering to different needs. This article explores four primary cloud computing deployment models: Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Multicloud. Understanding these models will help you determine which is best suited for your organization.

In previous discussions, we covered the basics of cloud computing and the different service models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS). However, choosing the right deployment model for your company is equally crucial. Most organizations adopt a combination of these models to meet their diverse requirements.

Private Cloud

A private cloud involves deploying an organization’s infrastructure and applications within its own data center, either on-premises or in a co-location facility. While this setup resembles traditional IT environments, it incorporates cloud characteristics when designed with a virtualization platform and orchestration tools, creating what is known as a “private cloud.”

In a private cloud, resources are dedicated solely to one organization, ensuring higher security and control. This model can deliver elastic compute capacity on-demand, akin to public clouds, but within the constraints of the organization’s infrastructure. Developers can provision resources programmatically, making it flexible and efficient.

Benefits of Private Cloud:

  • Complete Control: Full ownership and control over the entire stack.
  • Enhanced Security: Ideal for organizations that need to keep sensitive data in-house.
  • Customization: Tailor the infrastructure to meet specific business needs.

However, private cloud deployment entails significant capital expenditure and can be complex to manage, especially when mimicking public cloud features like multi-tenancy and metering.

Vendors of private cloud “stacks” include VMware, Microsoft, RedHat, Dell EMC, OpenStack, and HPE.

Public Cloud

Public cloud computing, commonly referred to as “cloud computing,” involves hosting IT services on infrastructure provided by third-party vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. These services are accessible over the internet and available to the public, making them highly scalable and cost-effective.

Public clouds operate on a multi-tenant model, where multiple customers share the same infrastructure, although dedicated hardware options are available. This model provides most of the benefits associated with cloud computing, including reduced costs, scalability, and ease of access.

Benefits of Public Cloud:

  • Cost Efficiency: Pay-as-you-go pricing models reduce capital expenditure.
  • Scalability: Easily scale resources up or down based on demand.
  • Accessibility: Access services from anywhere with an internet connection.

Public cloud is suitable for businesses that need to quickly scale their operations and do not have stringent data security or compliance requirements.

The most popular public cloud providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud combines private cloud, public cloud, and on-premises resources to create a flexible, unified environment. This model is particularly prevalent among large organizations that need to balance security, compliance, and performance.

For example, a company may store sensitive data in a private cloud for compliance reasons while using public cloud services to deploy customer-facing applications globally. Hybrid cloud also supports “cloud bursting,” where on-premises or private cloud resources are supplemented with public cloud resources during peak demand periods.

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Flexibility: Balance between on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud.
  • Scalability: Leverage public cloud resources for elasticity.
  • Compliance: Maintain critical applications and sensitive data in a secure environment.

Hybrid cloud offers the best of both worlds but requires careful management to ensure seamless integration between different environments.

Multicloud

Multicloud refers to using multiple cloud services from different providers simultaneously, which may include a mix of public and private clouds. Unlike hybrid cloud, which blends different deployment models, multicloud focuses on leveraging multiple vendors to meet specific needs.

For instance, an organization might use Microsoft Azure for certain workloads and AWS for others, optimizing each provider’s strengths. This approach can enhance flexibility, avoid vendor lock-in, and optimize costs.

Benefits of Multicloud:

  • Vendor Independence: Reduce reliance on a single cloud provider.
  • Cost Optimization: Choose the best provider for each workload.
  • Flexibility: Increase operational flexibility and resilience.

Multicloud can be complex to manage but offers significant advantages in terms of flexibility and risk mitigation.

Choosing the Right Cloud Deployment Model

Selecting the most appropriate cloud deployment model for your organization involves analyzing various factors, including technical requirements, operational preferences, and cost considerations. Here are two approaches to guide your decision:

Workload-Centric Approach

This method involves evaluating each workload to determine the most suitable cloud deployment model. Considerations include:

  • Technology Fit: Ensure the cloud model supports the required technologies.
  • Operational Fit: Match the model with operational processes and policies.
  • Cost: Analyze the total cost of ownership, including CAPEX and OPEX.

Organizationally-Centric Approach

This holistic approach assesses the overall suitability of different cloud models for the organization. Factors to consider include:

  • Business Agility: How quickly can the organization adapt to market changes?
  • Growth Potential: Can the model support the company’s growth plans?
  • Competitive Differentiation: Will the cloud model provide a competitive edge?
  • Operational Preferences: Consider the operational expertise and preferences of your IT team.
  • Cost Management: Balance between capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX).

Conclusion

Each cloud deployment model offers unique benefits and challenges. Private clouds provide control and security, making them ideal for sensitive data and applications. Public clouds offer scalability and cost efficiency, perfect for dynamic workloads. Hybrid clouds combine the best of both worlds, providing flexibility and compliance. Multiclouds leverage multiple providers, enhancing resilience and avoiding vendor lock-in.

Choosing the right cloud deployment model involves careful consideration of your organization’s specific needs, workload requirements, and strategic goals. By understanding the distinct advantages of each model, you can make informed decisions that drive innovation, efficiency, and growth in your business.

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Neal Davis

Founder of Digital Cloud Training, IT instructor and Cloud Solutions Architect with 20+ year of IT industry experience. Passionate about empowering his students