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Cloud computing has significantly transformed the landscape of IT infrastructure and data management in Australia. This paradigm shift is marked by a transition from traditional physical infrastructure to more flexible cloud environments, where computing resources are easily scalable and accessible. Cloud technology offers various models, including Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds, each catering to distinct needs and scenarios. Public cloud services, offered by giants like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, provide shared computing resources over the internet. These services are managed by third-party providers and are known for their scalability and cost-effectiveness.

Table of Contents

1. The cloud models defined
2. Head-to-head comparison
3. Use case scenarios
4. Cloud Bursting
5. Regulatory compliance in cloud computing
6. Cost considerations: difference between Public-Private-Hybrid Cloud
7. Conclusion

On the other hand, Private Clouds offer a more controlled environment, where services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. These solutions are ideal for handling sensitive data, offering enhanced security and greater customisation. Private cloud infrastructure, whether it's an on-premises data centre or hosted by a third-party vendor, allows organisations to have dedicated resources. This setup is beneficial for businesses with stringent regulatory compliance needs or those requiring specialised infrastructure management.

Hybrid Clouds blend the functionalities of both public and private clouds, allowing businesses to leverage the best of both worlds. In a hybrid cloud model, critical data can be kept within a private infrastructure, while less sensitive operations can utilise the expansive power of public cloud resources. This flexibility makes hybrid cloud solutions increasingly popular, especially for businesses looking for a balance between cost, performance, and security. The hybrid cloud environment enables seamless integration of different cloud services, be it Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or Alibaba Cloud, with existing IT infrastructure, offering a versatile and efficient computing solution.

The cloud models defined

Public Cloud

Definition: A cloud service operated by a third-party provider, accessible over the internet.
Characteristics: Known for its scalability and cost-effectiveness, the public cloud offers a flexible cloud computing environment. Users benefit from shared resources, minimising the need for physical infrastructure.
Advantages: High elasticity and a pay-as-you-go pricing model make the public cloud an attractive option for organisations seeking to optimise their IT expenses. This model eliminates the significant capital expenditure typically associated with on-premises infrastructure, shifting to an operational expense model.
Limitations: While public clouds, like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, provide robust cloud computing services, they offer lesser control over security and data privacy. This can be a concern for organisations handling sensitive data or those requiring enhanced security measures. Additionally, relying on a third-party service provider means businesses must trust the cloud provider's ability to manage security threats effectively.

Private Cloud

Definition: Private Cloud refers to cloud infrastructure exclusively used by a single organisation, which can be located on-site or externally hosted.
Characteristics:This cloud model is highly valued for its enhanced security and greater control, offering a private cloud environment tailored to an organisation's specific needs. Customisation options are vast, allowing for a finely tuned setup that aligns with unique business requirements.
Advantages: The private cloud stands out for its superior data privacy and compliance capabilities, essential for handling sensitive data and meeting stringent regulatory standards. Organisations benefit from dedicated resources, ensuring reliable performance and availability. This model is particularly suitable for businesses with specific IT infrastructure needs that public clouds cannot satisfy.
Limitations: However, the sophistication of private cloud solutions comes with higher costs, primarily due to the need for own infrastructure and private cloud services. Moreover, it demands significant in-house expertise and resources for ongoing maintenance and infrastructure management, which can be a challenge for some organisations. Despite these challenges, the private cloud offers a robust solution for businesses prioritising security and customisation.

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Hybrid Cloud

Definition: The Hybrid Cloud is a fusion of public and private cloud environments, designed to offer a balanced combination of their features. This model enables businesses to leverage the strengths of both cloud types, adapting to varying workload demands and strategic needs.
Characteristics: It is characterised by its exceptional flexibility, allowing organisations to scale resources up or down as needed. This blend of cloud models often results in optimised costs, as it allows organisations to judiciously allocate resources between the public and private clouds based on their specific requirements.
Advantages: A key advantage of the hybrid cloud is business agility. It provides the security and control of a private cloud, while also offering the expansive computing resources and innovation potential of public clouds. This model is ideal for businesses looking for tailored cloud solutions that align with both operational and security needs. Hybrid clouds are particularly beneficial for dynamic or highly changeable work environments.
Limitations: However, managing a hybrid cloud can be complex, especially when it comes to integrating and orchestrating operations between public and private cloud infrastructures. These integration challenges require careful planning and execution to ensure seamless operation across different cloud environments. Additionally, maintaining a hybrid cloud typically requires advanced IT expertise to effectively manage and optimise the interconnected systems. Despite these challenges, the hybrid cloud model remains a popular choice for its versatility and ability to cater to a broad range of business needs.

Head-to-head comparison

Navigating the cloud computing landscape requires a thorough understanding of the distinct features and functionalities of Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud models. To aid in this exploration, we present a comprehensive head-to-head comparison of these three approaches. This comparative analysis delves into key aspects such as cost, security, scalability, accessibility, maintenance requirements, shared resource utilisation, ownership, and practical applications in real-world scenarios.

The comparison is structured in a tabular format, offering a clear and concise visual representation of the differences and similarities between the models. Each row of the table focuses on a specific feature or consideration, while the columns are dedicated to each cloud type. This format allows for an easy-to-follow, side-by-side evaluation, facilitating a deeper understanding of which cloud model might be best suited for different organisational needs and scenarios.

By examining this table, decision-makers and IT professionals can gain insights into the nuances of each cloud model, aiding in informed decision-making when it comes to choosing the right cloud solution for their specific requirements.

Feature Public Cloud Private Cloud Hybrid Cloud
Cost Economical High initial cost Balanced
Security Standard Enhanced High
Scalability High Limited High
Accessibility Internet-based Internal Flexible
Maintenance Provider-managed Self-managed Mixed
Ownership Third-party Organisation Mixed
Real-world Example Microsoft Azure Internal Servers Hybrid IT Systems

Use case scenarios

Public Clouds

Operated by third-party providers like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, Public clouds are ideal for businesses requiring high scalability and cost-effectiveness. These environments are well-suited for handling non-sensitive operations due to their vast computing resources and pay-as-you-go pricing models. For instance, startups and small to medium-sized businesses often use public cloud services to manage software applications and data storage without the overhead of physical infrastructure. Companies like Netflix leverage public cloud platforms for their massive content delivery networks, benefiting from the scalability to handle fluctuating viewer demands.

Private Clouds

Private clouds are tailored for organisations where data security, regulatory compliance, and dedicated resources are paramount. They offer an exclusive environment, usually either hosted on-premises or through a private cloud provider. Industries dealing with sensitive data, like banking and healthcare, often opt for private cloud solutions to ensure enhanced security and control over their IT infrastructure. For example, financial institutions may use private clouds to securely process transactions and store confidential customer data, leveraging the private infrastructure to comply with stringent regulatory standards. Healthcare providers also utilise private cloud environments to manage patient records with the utmost privacy and regulatory adherence.

Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid cloud models blend the features of public and private clouds, providing a balanced solution for enterprises needing both security and scalability. This model is particularly advantageous in sectors like finance and healthcare, where the need to protect sensitive information is balanced with the demand for scalable computing resources. A financial institution might use a private cloud for secure transaction processing while utilising public cloud resources for less sensitive, yet resource-intensive, data analytics operations. Similarly, healthcare organisations can store patient data securely in a private cloud while using public cloud services for research and development activities. The hybrid cloud model offers the flexibility to use multiple public clouds from providers like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or Alibaba Cloud, alongside their own private infrastructure, allowing for a more dynamic and efficient use of cloud computing resources.

In each scenario, whether it's public, private, or hybrid cloud deployments, organisations are able to select a cloud solution that aligns with their specific needs – be it managing ongoing maintenance costs, dealing with security threats, or ensuring efficient infrastructure management. The choice of cloud model significantly impacts how organisations deploy their IT resources and handle their data, making it a critical decision in today's technology-driven landscape.

Cloud Bursting

Cloud Bursting is a dynamic and efficient cloud computing strategy, particularly useful for handling unpredictable workloads and temporary resource demands. This technique involves an application running in a private cloud or an on-premises data centre, which seamlessly extends to a public cloud when there is a spike in the need for computing power. The primary function of cloud bursting is to provide an elastic environment that can adapt to varying computational demands without requiring a permanent expansion of the private infrastructure.

This approach is especially advantageous for scenarios like e-commerce websites experiencing increased traffic during high-sales periods or promotional events. By implementing cloud bursting, these platforms can maintain essential operations and sensitive data securely within their private cloud while utilising the expansive, on-demand resources of a public cloud, such as those offered by Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud, during peak usage times. This not only ensures continuity and reliability of service during demand surges but also offers a cost-effective solution, as it allows businesses to incur additional resource costs only when absolutely necessary.

Regulatory compliance in cloud computing

Regulatory compliance in cloud computing varies significantly across different cloud models, each presenting unique challenges and requirements.

In the Public Cloud model, the primary focus is on ensuring that the cloud service provider adheres to industry-specific compliance standards. Since the infrastructure is managed by third-party vendors like Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud, it is crucial for businesses to verify that these providers meet all relevant regulatory requirements. This includes compliance with standards for data security, privacy, and other sector-specific regulations. The responsibility here lies in selecting a public cloud provider that not only offers the necessary computing resources but also aligns with legal and industry compliance norms.

In contrast, the Private Cloud model offers organisations the ability to tailor their compliance measures more closely to their specific organisational standards. Since the infrastructure is exclusively used by one organisation, it provides greater control over how compliance is managed, particularly for sensitive data and internal regulatory requirements. This control is crucial for industries with stringent regulations, such as finance and healthcare, where the handling of data is subject to strict governance. The private cloud environment allows these organisations to configure their IT infrastructure and cloud services in a way that strictly adheres to their unique regulatory demands, offering a higher level of security and compliance assurance.

The Hybrid Cloud model, combining both public and private clouds, necessitates a balanced approach to compliance. Organisations must manage and harmonise their compliance strategies across both sectors. This involves ensuring that data and applications hosted on public cloud platforms meet industry standards, while simultaneously maintaining the bespoke compliance posture of the private cloud. The hybrid cloud’s flexibility is beneficial for businesses that require robust compliance in certain areas, like data privacy, while still needing the scalability and cost-efficiency of public cloud resources for less sensitive operations. The key challenge in a hybrid cloud environment is ensuring seamless and consistent compliance across diverse cloud infrastructures and services.

Cost considerations: difference between Public-Private-Hybrid Cloud

In cloud computing, understanding the cost implications of different models – Public, Private, and Hybrid – is essential for informed decision-making.

Public Cloud

Public clouds, provided by entities like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or Alibaba Cloud, offer a lower upfront cost structure, primarily due to the elimination of expenses associated with owning physical infrastructure. Operating on a pay-per-use model, these cloud services allow businesses to scale computing resources up or down based on demand, leading to significant cost flexibility. This model is particularly attractive for businesses looking to reduce ongoing maintenance costs and capitalise on the vast computing power of public cloud providers without a hefty initial investment.

Private Cloud

Conversely, private clouds involve a higher initial investment. This is due to the costs associated with setting up and maintaining a private cloud environment, including investments in data centres and physical infrastructure. However, the costs are predictable, and the private cloud offers enhanced security and control, crucial for businesses handling sensitive data or requiring strict compliance with regulatory standards. Private cloud solutions are preferred by organisations that need dedicated IT infrastructure for enhanced security and have the capability to manage the underlying infrastructure and computing resources effectively.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid clouds combine the features of both public and private clouds, aiming to optimise costs by leveraging the advantages of each. This model allows businesses to maintain sensitive operations on a secure, private infrastructure while utilising the scalable, cost-effective resources of public clouds for less critical operations. The hybrid cloud model is ideal for businesses requiring a balance between the high security of private clouds and the flexibility and affordability of public clouds. It offers a versatile cloud solution, where organisations can distribute their IT resources across both private and public cloud environments, tailoring their cloud strategy to specific operational and financial objectives. This balance can lead to improved infrastructure management and cost efficiency, especially for businesses that experience fluctuating demands for computing resources.


Selecting the appropriate cloud model is a critical decision shaped by a business's specific requirements, where factors like cost, security, scalability, and regulatory compliance are crucial. Public clouds are ideal for businesses seeking cost-effectiveness and scalability, especially suitable for those that do not handle sensitive data. Private clouds, in contrast, cater to organisations prioritising security and control, offering enhanced measures for data protection and compliance, and are preferred in industries such as finance and healthcare.

Hybrid clouds present a versatile solution, blending the scalability of public clouds with the security of private ones. This model is particularly advantageous for businesses with fluctuating demands or those undergoing digital transformation. It enables companies to maintain sensitive data securely while exploiting the broader resources of public clouds for less critical operations. The decision to choose among these models hinges on aligning with the organisation's long-term goals and immediate operational needs.

Frequently asked questions

What are the 3 types of cloud services?

The three types of cloud services are Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud. Public Cloud services are offered by third-party providers like Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, accessible over the internet. Private Cloud services involve a cloud environment dedicated exclusively to a single organisation, either on-site or hosted. Hybrid Cloud services blend elements of both public and private clouds, offering a versatile solution that leverages the benefits of both types. 

Is Microsoft Azure a public, private, or hybrid cloud?

Microsoft Azure is primarily a Public Cloud service provider.  It boosts productivity with pre-defined architectures and services such as container orchestration, big data analytics, and various web application frameworks. Microsoft Azure, as a public cloud provider, is known for its cost effectiveness, high availability across multiple geographical regions, responsive customer service, and reliable performance.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of public, private, and hybrid clouds?

Public Clouds offer advantages like scalability, cost-effectiveness, and minimal maintenance, but they can have limitations in terms of security and control. Private Clouds provide enhanced security and greater control, with the disadvantage of higher costs and the need for in-house maintenance. Hybrid Clouds balance the benefits and challenges of both, offering tailored solutions and improved security, though they can be complex to manage and integrate. 

Which is the most secure cloud: private, public, or hybrid?

The most secure cloud model is generally considered to be the Private Cloud. This is due to its dedicated infrastructure that offers enhanced security measures and greater control over data and resources, making it ideal for handling sensitive data and complying with strict regulatory standards. Hybrid Clouds also offer robust security by combining the security features of private clouds with the scalability of public clouds. 

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