Public Cloud Definition | Tintri

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Public Cloud

Public cloud is a virtual environment owned by a third-party where members join and use as much or as little virtual space they need for personal or business use. Public cloud providers are responsible for maintenance of their clouds—a benefit users enjoy because they don’t have to hire IT staff to maintain public cloud. Public cloud offers virtual machines (VMs), storage, applications or software. Some public cloud providers offer free service; others offer pay-per-use for end-users.

The difference between public cloud and legacy storage

Unlike legacy storage methods such as servers or hard disk drives (HDDs), users can manage files, folders, applications or software and the resources required to execute any type of computing on public clouds with great speed. Legacy storage, including HDDs and server farms require far more manual upkeep, and need to be maintained by an IT professional or data scientist—or an entire team of IT pros in the case of larger entities. Conversely, when individuals or businesses choose public cloud, they enter their data, files, folders, software and apps into a virtualized environment. Virtual cloud environments offer much higher speed when spinning up or tearing down apps, greater agility and in many cases, better security for proprietary data.

In contrast to servers and HDDs within a data center, public cloud environments do not need to be physically altered when the need for more space arises. Typically, the third-party owner of the public cloud provider sells users the space they need. When the need for more space for data or software storage arises, the user simply buys more space, which is automatically provisioned for their use. While public cloud does offer tremendous advantages in speed over legacy storage options, it does have its pitfalls.

Disadvantages of public cloud offered by third-party providers

When you use public cloud, you are using a “slice of storage pie,” from a third-party that owns all of the space you are using—they own the entire virtualized atmosphere you’re working within. Yes, there is a great advantage to be able to scale up the amount of space you need when you need it, and only pay for the space you need. However, there are other ways to achieve the same speed, security and agility of public cloud without signing up with corporate household names within the cloud computing space. Contrary to popular belief, there are other virtualized environment choices that offer the same high speed, scalability and even better security.

Company data doesn’t belong in public

For private workloads, the best option is the privacy of enterprise cloud, not a third-party public cloud provider. Housing your company information, apps and other data within a private enterprise cloud allows you all the speed, security and options for scaling up (or down) you need. Some things don’t belong in public—your company’s proprietary data, user information, customer profiles or patient records are just some examples of things that don’t belong on public cloud environments. Instead of thinking about using a large third-party public cloud provider, consider owning your own cloud rather than essentially being a renter to a virtual landlord. With the Tintri Enterprise Cloud platform, you’ll get speedy spinning up and tearing down, application isolation through virtual machines (VMs), and an end to noisy neighbors with representational state transfer application program interfaces (RESTful APIs).

What public cloud is really meant for—and good at doing

When it comes to the personal, individual need to store things, public cloud providers do an excellent job. Storing family photos and having file-sharing options for family members or close friends are two things public cloud does extremely well. It also acts as a place to keep Word documents and Excel spreadsheets for managing household expenses or templates for a microbusiness (like an Etsy storefront). Providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Tresorit, Sync, Share and others offer end-to-end encrypted storage, encryption at rest and in transit, two-step verification and even HIPAA compliance in many instances. However, the location of the actual cloud itself can be shady: it may be in the U.S., but it could also be at some undisclosed location in Europe or elsewhere.

When it comes to managing small numbers of relatively small files and folders, public cloud is perfect. However, when we begin discussing data mobility or simultaneous deployment of multiple apps by multiple tenants, we see why public cloud providers are perfect for family vacation photos, but not so great for company data storage.

For the needs of a large corporate enterprise, or even those of a medium-sized venture that requires immediate and frequent scalability with security, enterprise cloud—not public cloud—is the best choice. When your company owns its private enterprise cloud, all data, information, apps and software are stored within your rack space in your data center. When you have your own enterprise cloud for managing company files and other private resources, there are no third-party providers… and no more sleepless nights over how easily your cloud might be hacked.