Private cloud vs public cloud

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What is the public cloud?

The public cloud refers to a service model that offers businesses access to computing resources — think servers, storage, and applications — whenever those resources are needed, using the public internet. The cloud service provider takes care of everything infrastructure-related, including owning and managing  data centers, and the hardware and networking equipment that reside therein.

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Benefits of the public cloud

The beauty of public cloud services lies in their ability to offer businesses flexibility and scalability. Companies can quickly adjust computing resources to accommodate fluctuating demands, which means they don’t need costly on-premises infrastructure. 

Public cloud services are a good choice when there are irregular demands, such as a yearly event that requires significant computing power… but only for a short period of time. 

Public cloud providers offer various pre-configured services, such as virtual machines, databases, and storage. Companies can deploy and manage these services as needed and only pay for what they use. These services enable businesses to easily scale up or down their computing infrastructure based on their needs, making them highly adaptable.

Moreover, public cloud services are also cost-effective, as the business only pays for the resources they use.

What is the private cloud?

A private cloud is a computing environment dedicated to a single organization, unlike a public cloud, where computing resources are shared among multiple users. 

Private clouds are typically deployed using virtualization technology, such as VMware or Hyper-V. Organizations generally create virtual machines in which they deploy their applications. Private clouds can also incorporate other cloud technologies, such as software-defined networking and storage, to provide a more flexible and scalable infrastructure.

Benefits of the private cloud

Private clouds offer high control, security, and customizability.  Private clouds are attractive to organizations with strict security and compliance requirements, which must maintain a high level of control over their computing environment. That makes private clouds more popular than the public cloud for businesses in healthcare, finance, government, research, and data science – or those who do business with those industries.

Private cloud deployment models

There are two primary deployment models for private clouds: on-premises and hosted.

Hybrid cloud deployment strategies fuse aspects of both public and private clouds. A hybrid cloud is made up of two or more cloud environments (private, public, or community), each of which is still a separate entity but is connected by standardized or proprietary technologies to facilitate data and application portability (e.g., Microsoft Azure Stack). Depending on their needs, enterprises in a hybrid cloud environment can run some workloads on a private cloud and others on a public cloud. Businesses can keep the control and security of private clouds while achieving the scalability and flexibility of public clouds.

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Comparing the public and private cloud


Public cloud governance:

In a public cloud, the cloud provider is responsible for the management and maintenance of the cloud infrastructure. However, the customers who use the cloud services are still responsible for ensuring that their use of the cloud is compliant with regulatory requirements and their own internal policies. Public cloud governance includes the following aspects:

Security: This involves ensuring that the cloud infrastructure is secure, and that customer data and applications are protected from unauthorized access.

Compliance: Public cloud customers must ensure that their use of the cloud is compliant with relevant regulations, such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS.

Cost management: Customers must manage their use of cloud resources to minimize costs and ensure that they are getting value for their money.

Service-level agreements (SLAs): Customers must ensure that their cloud provider is meeting the agreed-upon SLAs for uptime, performance, and support.

Private cloud governance:

Strict regulations govern patient privacy and data security in healthcare organizations. By providing a secure and controlled computing environment, private clouds can assist these organizations in complying with HIPAA regulations. Similarly, financial institutions deal with sensitive information that must be kept private and secure. Private clouds can assist these organizations in maintaining the security and control necessary to safeguard sensitive financial data.

Governmental agencies quite often have stringent security requirements and regulations that must be followed. By providing a secure and controlled computing environment, private clouds can assist these organizations in maintaining compliance with regulations such as FISMA. Private cloud governance includes the following aspects:

Security: Private cloud customers must ensure that the cloud infrastructure is secure, and that data and applications are protected from unauthorized access.

Compliance: Organizations must ensure that their use of the private cloud is compliant with relevant regulations.

Resource allocation: Organizations must manage the allocation of cloud resources to ensure that they are used efficiently and effectively.

User governance: Organizations must manage user access to the private cloud to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive data and applications.


Security is a significant distinction between public and private clouds. In a public cloud environment, resources are shared among multiple users and organizations, which can increase the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security issues. However, public cloud providers typically have robust security measures and compliance certifications in place to protect their customers’ data and applications.

Private clouds, on the other hand, are typically hosted on dedicated hardware that is not shared with other organizations or individuals. This provides a higher level of security and control over data and applications. Private clouds can also be customized to meet an organization’s specific security requirements, including compliance with industry-specific regulations.

However, it’s worth noting that private clouds can also be less secure if they are not properly configured or managed. For example, if the underlying hardware is not properly secured, it can still be vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, private cloud providers may not have the same level of expertise and resources as public cloud providers when it comes to security.

Overall, while security is a critical consideration when choosing between public and private clouds, it is not the only factor to consider, and both types of clouds have their own advantages and disadvantages.


Public clouds are generally thought of as less expensive than private clouds because the cost is shared among multiple customers. Private clouds also necessitate a significant upfront infrastructure investment as well as ongoing maintenance costs, but the total cost of each setup can depend on a number of factors. Ultimately cost savings will come down to individual use cases.


Public clouds are designed to be a one-size-fits-all solution that can be used by multiple customers, which means that they typically have limited customization options. Providers of public clouds are responsible for maintaining a standardized environment that can be used by multiple customers, which can limit the level of customization available to individual customers.

On the other hand, private clouds are designed to be highly customizable. Businesses can tailor the hosted environment to match their requirements, which means they have greater control over security, performance, and other factors. Private clouds can be customized to meet specific security, compliance, and other requirements of an organization.


Public clouds can experience performance issues when multiple customers heavily use shared resources because the available resources are finite and must be shared among all users. However, public cloud providers typically have large-scale infrastructure and employ load-balancing techniques to mitigate these issues. Private clouds, on the other hand, provide dedicated computing resources and can offer higher performance as a result, but again this also depends on a number of factors like hardware limitations, network connectivity, resource allocation, virtualization overhead, and application design.  

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