Cloud A-Z Part 8: Mixing the right cloud recipe

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When cooks get together, more often than not, they argue over who has the best recipes. Some brag about their chicken soup and how it’s the best thing for a cold. Others disagree, saying their chili has the perfect ingredients to knock out a cold. But it all boils down to what their customer really wants: soup or chili?
And when it comes to cloud solutions, you’ll also run into disagreements over what form of cloud is best for what applications. Disagreements could be over what actually constitutes a cloud instance, with some arguing that a private cloud is not even a legitimate form of cloud. Others see private cloud, and indeed hybrid cloud, as a gateway to leveraging public cloud. In this article, we’ll better define these three types of cloud and hopefully help you identify which cloud recipe is best for your purposes.

Public Cloud

This is the classic cloud. Public cloud was the first approach to use the word “cloud” and displays all the OSSM (pronounced awesome) benchmarks of a cloud offering as defined by Dave Neilsen, one of the founders of CloudCamp:

  • On-demand – The infrastructure is already set up and ready to be deployed
  • Self-service – The customer chooses what they want, when they want it
  • Scalable – Customers can choose how much they want and ramp up if necessary
  • Measurable – Customers know they are getting what they pay for

Benefits of Public Cloud
Public cloud comes with a myriad of benefits for those organizations that can take advantage of it:

  • Lower TCO than traditional on-premises
  • Low or no startup costs
  • Reduced infrastructure footprint
  • Increased flexibility around provisioning
  • Scale software without worrying about infrastructure constraints

Despite all these benefits, there are some organizations that feel they aren’t free to take advantage of public cloud due to a variety of considerations such as compliance issues or usage patterns. They usually find their answer in private cloud.

Private Cloud

Private cloud models itself after public cloud, but it is designed in such a way that it caters only to the needs of one organization on dedicated software. There are four methods of implementing private cloud:

  • On-premises, managed by the organization
  • Off-premises, managed by the organization
  • On-premises, managed by a third-party
  • Off-premises, managed by a third-party

Each offers benefits, but since two of the key benefits of operating in the cloud are reducing organizational effort to manage the cloud and low outlay to implement the cloud, obviously the most cost-effective private cloud that takes advantage of the biggest benefits is the off-premises, third-party managed scenario, unless an existing on-premises infrastructure is repurposed.
Benefits of Private Cloud
Private cloud, with some approaches, carries the same benefits as public cloud, with the additional benefits of:

  • Meeting compliance requirements
  • Repurposing existing infrastructure to cloud
  • Ability to accede to specific technology requirements
  • Reduce risks associated with vendor lock-in

However, if private cloud implementation isn’t carried out thoughtfully, many of the benefits of cloud can be diminished or even eliminated altogether. This brings us to hybrid cloud, which many consider to be the best of both worlds.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud is the combination of public cloud and any other IT infrastructure. The definition of hybrid cloud is even more undecided than those of other cloud approaches. Some go so far as to limit hybrid cloud to the combination of public and private cloud, while others agree with the definition presented previously. Like private cloud, hybrid cloud comes in several different configurations:

  • Dedicated hardware combined with public cloud
  • Private cloud on customer-owned hardware combined with public cloud
  • Combining public cloud and a provider’s private cloud

Benefits of Hybrid Cloud
The most obvious benefit is that this approach allows organizations to mix and match technologies to create the perfect approach that meets their needs, optimizing the usual cloud benefits. In addition to this, however, hybrid cloud has the following benefits:

  • Flexibility to retain desired parts of their existing infrastructure
  • Maximizing ROI on existing hardware and software
  • Maintaining regulatory compliance

Use Cases

The use cases for private and public cloud are self-evident but the use cases for hybrid cloud can be a little more blurry. So, what are some ideal use cases for hybrid cloud?

  • Moving legacy applications to the cloud  is illogical
  • Where peaks in traffic require a burst to the cloud
  • On-premises backups are cost-prohibitive
  • Web applications require high performance but cloud scalability for web serving
  • Inexpensive testing of prototype applications
  • Avoiding vendor lock-in


The cloud is on a sliding scale at the moment. The current state is that more organizations are using private cloud and fewer are using public, with hybrid being the optimal compromise. But as time goes on, the expectation is that more organizations will use public cloud while fewer will use private, resulting in hybrid cloud continuing to gain traction with those who have a specific set of requirements to be met. In the end, it all depends on the recipe, and only you and your customer can determine which cloud recipe will best meet their needs.

Contact Us

If you have additional questions about these challenges or would like more information on Arrow’s cloud services, contact or call 877.558.6677.

 Did You Miss Any of Our Other Articles in the A-Z Series?

Abstracted from Rackspace’s Creative Configurations: Mixing and Matching Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds for Maximum Benefits.

Last modified: January 23, 2017