Permanent accessibility, scalable storage and countless services: all this offers cloud computing. When deciding on a cloud service, the consumer is faced with a very diverse range of offers and offerings. For the private user and the medium-sized business, a public cloud service is perhaps the most reasonable choice. Easy to use and with ample room for expansion in terms of storage space, the public cloud has many advantages, but since it has to contain sensitive data, it is necessary to carefully examine each of the offers. In data protection, scalability and value for money, the differences can be considerable.
What is the public cloud?
The public cloud is a service that uses the Internet to provide computer solutions in an open way. In order to do so, the providers of this service manage interconnected server groups that come to be called “farms” or server towers. As a user, the most common is that you access the storage space from the web browser. The key here is that you only pay for the resources you use.
You also do not have to take charge of the hardware acquisition, thus saving you the derived costs. This business model thus makes the public cloud very attractive in the eyes of young and medium-sized companies, which have to limit IT spending to, instead, invest it in research or growth. Public cloud services tend to follow the principle of self-service: the user increases the functions or power he needs autonomously.
Characteristics of the public cloud
Costs on demand: each client obtains their own access to their account in the cloud, where they hire the services they need. For example, instead of buying multiple long-term licenses, you can rent a CMS package for all your employees or graphic tools for designers only, or try an analysis tool for your web application. The billing of costs in the public cloud is usually based on demand, a quality that makes it particularly flexible and makes it the ideal choice when you only want to access certain applications once or you want to increase the server capacity on time.
Web-based user interface: transactions with the public cloud provider are often carried out in an application in the browser. From here the client accesses his account, where he can hire more services or capabilities, make his payments or cancel services when he no longer needs them. In this user interface you also access the software you have hired. All this saves the customer to keep in place a high-performance hardware with a lot of memory capacity. The decisive factor for the services to work is the Internet connection, the rest is taken care of by the provider.
Scalability: if an increase in traffic challenges the performance of a web application, it is possible to avoid overload failures by expanding resources. If the urgency decreases, they are reduced as easily.
Efficiency: cloud computing providers process processes very quickly.
Savings: compared to the private cloud, public cloud users need much less physical equipment, since the provider owns the data centers. Nor do you have to buy the software in prohibitive packages, but it is paid based on what is needed and often in a subscription format that includes the most current version and the corresponding support.
Reliability: guaranteed standards are part of this business model. Providers are responsible for maintaining the IT infrastructure and replacing defective devices. Hardware redundancy prevents crashes.
Data protection: specialized providers constantly monitor their systems for vulnerabilities. Companies with headquarters and data centers in the European Union are subject to European data protection regulations.
German providers meet the highest security standards and guarantee scalability and flexibility, such as the certified cloud server for web projects offered by IONOS.
Protection of the environment: distributing space and resources among several clients and adapting them to their needs, cloud servers use them efficiently. Instead of using an server inefficiently, the calculation and memory capacity is distributed here. Some suppliers even use sustainably produced energy.
Technical implementation of the public cloud
From the client’s perspective, the public cloud technically requires very little. Suppose you integrate a large part of your IT infrastructure into the cloud and transfer the server, runtime environments and internal applications to the server cloud. In this scenario, all you need is a device with an Internet connection and a browser. Depending on the task, employees operate these devices with keyboard and mouse, touch screen or professional control panels, but you do not need your own server with enough memory to store databases and programs or with the necessary RAM to respond with agility. This lightweight hardware is called “lean client” or “thin client”.
The connection to the public cloud takes place on the Internet. As soon as you have created an account, your provider provides you with a browser-based user interface that, since the offer reaches from individual applications to complete infrastructures, can have a very diverse visual appearance: some customers only use an email interface web limited to manage communication, while others hire an office system or manage their web application on an ad hoc platform.
The client accesses the contracted service through an interface with all security guarantees. The supplier houses are responsible for backend management and supply the hardware – which includes the server towers, data storage units and computers. All these devices make up the cloud they enter and where customers work. Cloud hosting providers assign each server a space on the server. To guarantee all clients access to the cloud at all times, redundancies are distributed on different servers.
The cloud itself consists of several servers connected to a central server, which controls the network with a so-called middleware that allows all devices to communicate. The central server distributes the tasks that have previously been defined in the protocols. Depending on the power they need, the provider distributes the space on the different servers. Some services require several machines.
In the case of services that do not need much memory, hosting providers effectively exploit their devices by installing several virtual servers on a physical server. These servers or virtual machines act as real servers with their own operating systems and clients access them through an interface. Other clients share the same physical server but also using a virtual machine through the web interface. The virtual machine streamlines the space and can be scaled freely, so that the performance of your services does not depend on the capacity of your equipment.
Differences with the private cloud
What fundamentally distinguishes the private from the public cloud is the same that separates the private from the public in general. Cloud computing differentiates three ways to access the cloud: at one end the public cloud is located, accessible to anyone who has a sufficient internet connection and budget and, on the other, the private cloud, isolated from the field public. Both forms have their advantages and disadvantages, which leads some companies to opt for the hybrid cloud, which would combine the best of each house.