The following article has been contributed by Jia Wei Sun, QA Engineer, SUSE China.
Cloud is the number one strategy for most start-up companies when the try to build up their own IT infrastructure. And cloud is also an optimal option for enterprises who want to upgrade their traditional IT environment. But there comes a question with it: Which cloud solution should be used – public cloud or private cloud ?
I had the pleasure to attend the OpenStack Day China in Beijing on July 24th & 25th at the China National Convention Center.
The discussion around “public cloud or private cloud” was a hot topic at the conference. The consensus among all experts was that public and private cloud will coexist over a long period of time. And both of them are valuable cloud solutions – there is no way to distinguish which one is “good” or “bad”. To see which solution fits better, you simply need to look at the workloads and circumstances – means at the use cases.
Public cloud definitely is the better fit for start-up companies who want to ramp-up their IT systems and make them faster and flexible, with lower initial acquisition costs and calculated fix costs in the long run. Such systems are very easy to deploy. They only need to order PaaS/IaaS/SaaS services from a Cloud provider, and a network connection from an ISP. They don’t need to buy expensive hardware themselves anymore, and they don’t even need to hire an IT administrator.
Well, we all understand that public cloud is a much cheaper solution, it can easily be deployed and it is easy to use. But there are use cases where you need to implement a private cloud. I think the security problem is the biggest concern when enterprises think about transferring their systems to a cloud. Cyber-attacks – the dark side of the Internet – are a serious threat. Malicious cyber-attacks do not focus anymore solely on financial institutions such as stock exchanges or banks, but they also severely hit enterprises (for example, remember the hack of Sony Pictures in 2014) and even personal computers (think of the latest “WannaCry” attack). Compared with the public cloud, safety is the biggest advantage for a private cloud. Many enterprises across all industries have to keep their business information secure, to be compliant with (local) laws, and they cannot and even don’t want to store their customer information – clearly spoken – on a hard-disk which belongs to another company, most likely even in another country with different legislation regarding data protection. That is the most important reason why companies want and have to build their private data center and deploy their private cloud environment.
One example of a company that has installed a private cloud is Pacific Textiles Holdings Limited, a traditional industrial enterprise headquartered in Hong Kong. They try to build their IIoT for the Industry 4.0 revolution. Their industrial-level cloud needs to provide highest quality and reliability, coupled with high performance requirements. They need a cloud environment that can be deployed fast, and that comes with easy management and enhanced high availability capabilities. The best choice for them was a private cloud – which they of course then installed in their data center.
To summarize the discussions from the event, I deeply agree with a speaker from Shenzhen-based Tencent, one of the largest tech companies in Asia, who said “There is not good cloud or bad cloud, it depends on what you need to do. If you choose to transfer your business systems to a cloud, you first need change your mind.” In my opinion, public cloud and private cloud are like twin brothers – similar and still very different: which one to choose heavily depends on the respective usage scenario.