The Many Faces of the Cloud

Cloud Delivery Models Explained

The last quarter of 2012 was dotted with several events for the team at Applications2U.  We attended four local Pittsburgh business expos.  It was great to setup all of our technology and show it off to the attendees.  One of the questions we pose to the folks that approached our table was, “What do you think the cloud is?”  The answers were generally varied and included answers like: it’s dropbox, it’s Amazon, it’s Google Docs, it’s on my iPhone.  This got us thinking…there are many faces of the cloud, but only three cloud delivery models exist. So, let’s start there and explain them.  

Public Cloud //

Apple’s iCloud is a well known public cloud that, unless  you’ve been living in a cave for the last several years, you have at the very least heard of it.  Apple’s customers store music, photos, video and apps all within a public-cloud environment.  A public cloud provider like is one that makes resources such as applications, storage and secure data available to the end user through encryption via the Internet.  A few of the benefits of a public cloud include:

  1. Fast and inexpensive setup because the provider is taking on the burden of having in place the necessary hardware and software.
  2. Scalability is a cinch.  It’s effortless to add users, storage resources, bandwidth, and throughput.
  3. Straight forward IT costs.  Most public clouds operate on a pay-as-you-go model so you only pay for what you use.

Private Cloud //

The private cloud is a proprietary network that uses cloud computing technologies, such as virtualization. A private cloud is managed by the organization it serves.  Essentially, a company uses cloud-based technology like in the public cloud, but they maintain it in-house.  They build a private cloud on their own hardware and software.  A few of the attributes of a private cloud include:

  1. Highly customizable to an organization’s needs.
  2. In-house IT teams have complete control over the infrastructure.
  3. Well-suited for a company in an industry with regulatory concerns like banking or healthcare.

A third model, the hybrid cloud, is maintained by both internal and external providers. The main infrastructure of a hybrid cloud is based on the private cloud with outsourced public cloud resources.  With this model, an organization can decide which resources they prefer to be public or private, i.e. storage, compute power, web servers, specific applications.



Take the word ‘cloud’ out of it for a minute, because data and information is secured on physical servers in a real data center that you can walk into and out of.  It’s not a data center in space. The term cloud may be used because there is a hub that delivers applications and data to you over the Internet.  Applications2U, as a public and private cloud hosting provider, assumes the IT burden for our clients.  Our clients under the public cloud delivery model do not need to buy servers, nor deal with the costs to maintain and keep them running such as housing them in a climate controlled and secure facility.  Nor do they have to deal with the costs associated with backing up their data and applications, keeping the information secure through firewalls and other security measures.  We assist our clients in determining which cloud delivery model fits their needs best and then help them with the appropriate implemention.

So, what cloud delivery model do you think is best?