Cloud Deployment Models

Learn about the value different cloud deployment models offer

What is a cloud deployment model?

A cloud deployment model refers to the specific approach or strategy an organization uses to deploy and manage its cloud computing services. The five main cloud deployment models are public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, multicloud, and community cloud.


Hybrid clouds, multiclouds, and community clouds are all formed using public and private clouds.


Each cloud deployment model has unique characteristics that impact its suitability for specific use cases or requirements, and each model also comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. The primary distinctions between different cloud deployment models are:


Infrastructure ownership and location – The physical cloud components can be owned and operated by the cloud user, by a third party (or parties), or by a combination of the two. Likewise, the physical infrastructure can be located on the user’s premises, off premises, or distributed across locations.


Resource sharing – Resources such as servers, storage, and networking can be shared among multiple users and organizations, or they can be dedicated to a single organization.


Scalability and elasticity – Public clouds have more extensive resources, allowing them to offer high scalability (for long-term needs) and elasticity (for short-term needs). The scalability of private clouds depends on the capacity of the underlying infrastructure, so scaling often requires additional investments.


Security and compliance – In public clouds, security measures are implemented by the cloud provider, and users share responsibility for securing their data and applications. Private clouds offer greater control over security measures and compliance requirements for organizations with strict security needs.


Cost and pricing model – Public clouds typically follow a pay-as-you-go or subscription-based pricing model, offering cost-effective options based on resource usage. Private clouds require upfront investment in infrastructure and have ongoing maintenance and scaling costs.


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Keep reading to learn more about cloud deployment models.

Types of cloud deployment models


Public cloud

In a public cloud deployment model, cloud services are provided by third-party vendors over the internet. These services are available to the general public, and resources such as servers, storage, and applications are shared among multiple users. Public clouds offer scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness but generally provide less control and customization compared to private clouds.


The three biggest global cloud service providers (CSPs) are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. AWS is known for its extensive services portfolio and a large ecosystem of partners, third-party integrations, and developer tools. Azure is popular for its seamless integration with Microsoft products and services and for its comprehensive solutions for large industries such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and government. Google Cloud is known for its advanced data and analytics services, its embrace of open source, and its large and fast global network infrastructure.


Couchbase’s NoSQL database is designed to run easily on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.


At the basic level, a public cloud provides an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), but managed cloud services also include Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS), and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) such as Couchbase Capella™ DBaaS.


Private cloud

A private cloud deployment model involves hosting cloud services within a private network, typically owned and operated by a single organization. Private clouds offer greater control, security, and customization compared to public clouds. They’re especially suitable for organizations with strict security and compliance requirements or those handling sensitive data.


Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud deployment model combines elements of both public and private clouds. It allows organizations to leverage the scalability and cost-effectiveness of public clouds while retaining control over sensitive data and critical applications in private clouds. Hybrid clouds facilitate seamless data and application portability between environments.


In a hybrid cloud architecture, certain workloads and data are hosted in private cloud infrastructure, while others are deployed in public cloud environments. These environments are interconnected through networking technologies, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) or dedicated connections, enabling secure communication and data exchange between public and private cloud resources. Organizations can use the scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of public clouds for less sensitive workloads while maintaining control, security, and compliance requirements in private cloud environments for mission-critical applications and sensitive data.


Multicloud

A multicloud deployment model uses multiple public cloud service providers to meet different business needs or to avoid vendor lock-in. In a multicloud architecture, organizations distribute their workloads across different CSPs such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud to leverage the relative strengths and capabilities of each provider to meet specific business requirements.


Multicloud deployments can be managed centrally through orchestration and management tools, enabling organizations to optimize performance, scalability, cost, and resilience by selecting the most suitable cloud services from different providers for each workload or application. Multicloud architectures provide organizations with flexibility, redundancy, and vendor independence, allowing them to mitigate risks, avoid vendor lock-in, and maximize innovation and agility in the cloud.


Hybrid clouds and multiclouds are often combined to gain the benefits of both, and this sometimes leads to confusion between the two. Here’s a deeper dive into a comparison of multicloud versus hybrid cloud.


Community cloud

In a community cloud deployment model, cloud infrastructure is shared among several organizations with common concerns such as regulatory compliance, industry-specific requirements, or shared missions. Community clouds enable collaboration and resource sharing while addressing specific needs within a particular community or industry.


Benefits and challenges of cloud deployment models

Public cloud

Benefits

  • Cost-effective: Public clouds operate on a pay-as-you-go model, allowing organizations to minimize upfront costs and only pay for the resources they use. This model is especially beneficial for startups and small businesses with limited budgets.
  • Scalability: Public clouds offer virtually limitless scalability for both long-term and short-term needs. Organizations can easily scale up resources during peak demand and scale down during quieter periods. They can also quickly and easily adapt to changing needs as they grow without investing in additional infrastructure.
  • Accessibility: Public cloud services are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, enabling remote access to applications and data. This accessibility fosters collaboration among distributed teams and supports remote work arrangements.


Challenges

  • Security concerns: Public clouds share infrastructure among multiple users, raising concerns about data security and privacy. Organizations must rely on the cloud provider’s security measures and may face increased risks of data breaches or unauthorized access.
  • Limited control: Users have limited control over the underlying infrastructure and are subject to the policies and limitations imposed by the cloud provider. This lack of control can be problematic for organizations with strict compliance requirements or specific customization needs.
  • Dependency on internet connectivity: Public cloud services require reliable internet connectivity for access. Organizations may experience disruptions in service or reduced productivity in areas with poor internet connectivity.


Private cloud

Benefits

  • Greater control: Private clouds offer organizations greater control over customization, security, and compliance compared to public clouds. This control is essential for organizations with specialized workloads or strict regulatory requirements.
  • Security and compliance: Private clouds provide a dedicated environment for sensitive data and critical applications, reducing the risk of data breaches or compliance violations. This level of security and compliance assurance is particularly valuable for industries such as healthcare, finance, and government.
  • Performance: Private clouds can offer better performance and reliability for mission-critical applications due to dedicated resources and infrastructure. This performance assurance ensures consistent access to applications and minimizes downtime.


Challenges

  • Higher upfront costs: Private clouds require significant upfront investment in infrastructure and ongoing maintenance, resulting in higher initial costs compared to public clouds. This investment may be prohibitive for small businesses or startups with limited budgets.
  • Limited scalability: Private clouds may have limited scalability depending on the capacity of the underlying infrastructure. Scaling resources beyond the initial capacity may require additional investment in hardware upgrades or expansion.
  • Resource underutilization: If capacity exceeds demand, private clouds may underuse their infrastructure, resulting in wasted resources and higher costs. Organizations must carefully plan resource allocation to optimize usage and minimize waste.


Hybrid cloud

Benefits

  • Flexibility: Hybrid clouds offer organizations the flexibility to leverage the benefits of both public and private clouds, allowing them to deploy different workloads based on specific requirements. This flexibility enables organizations to optimize performance, cost, and security for each workload.
  • Data control: Hybrid clouds enable organizations to retain control over sensitive data and critical applications by keeping them within private cloud environments. At the same time, organizations can leverage the scalability and cost-effectiveness of public clouds for less sensitive workloads.
  • Disaster recovery: Hybrid clouds provide options for disaster recovery and business continuity by distributing workloads across multiple environments. Organizations can replicate data and applications across public and private clouds to ensure resilience and minimize downtime.


Challenges

  • Complexity: Managing multiple cloud environments can be complex and may require additional expertise and resources. Organizations must invest in robust management tools and processes to ensure seamless integration and interoperability between public and private clouds.
  • Integration challenges: Integrating and managing workloads across different cloud environments can be challenging, requiring careful planning and coordination. Organizations must address compatibility issues, data synchronization, and security considerations to ensure smooth operation across hybrid environments.
  • Security concerns: Hybrid clouds introduce additional security risks because data and applications are distributed across multiple environments. Organizations must implement comprehensive security measures and protocols to protect sensitive information and mitigate the risk of data breaches or cyberattacks.


Multicloud

Benefits

  • Avoid vendor lock-in: Multicloud environments enable organizations to avoid vendor lock-in by distributing workloads across multiple cloud providers. This flexibility gives organizations greater leverage when negotiating pricing and services. It can also be easier for an organization to move workloads to a different CSP if they’re already up and running on a different cloud.
  • Best-of-breed solutions: Multicloud environments enable organizations to leverage the strengths and capabilities of different cloud providers for specific workloads or requirements. By selecting the most suitable services from each provider, organizations can achieve superior performance, scalability, and innovation with the necessary level of security at the lowest cost.
  • Risk mitigation: Multicloud environments reduce the risk of service disruptions and data loss by spreading workloads across multiple providers and environments. This redundancy ensures resilience and business continuity, even in the event of provider outages, service degradation, or security incidents.


Challenges

  • Complexity: Managing multiple cloud environments can be complex and may require additional tools, skills, and resources. Organizations must invest in robust management and orchestration capabilities to ensure seamless integration, interoperability, and governance across multicloud environments.
  • Integration challenges: Integrating and managing workloads across different cloud environments can be challenging, requiring careful planning, coordination, and execution. Organizations must address compatibility issues, data synchronization, and security considerations to ensure smooth operation and consistent performance across environments.
  • Cost management: Multicloud environments introduce additional complexity to cost management, as organizations must track and optimize expenses across multiple providers. Without proper monitoring and governance, organizations can incur unexpected costs from usage spikes, redundant services, or inefficient resource allocation.


Community cloud

Benefits

  • Collaboration: Community clouds facilitate collaboration and resource sharing among organizations with common concerns or requirements, such as regulatory compliance or industry standards. By pooling resources and expertise, community members can achieve economies of scale and accelerate innovation.
  • Cost sharing: Community clouds enable organizations to share infrastructure costs, resulting in potential cost savings for all members. This cost-sharing model allows organizations to access advanced technologies and services that may be cost prohibitive to deploy individually.
  • Customization: Community clouds can be customized to meet the specific needs and requirements of the community, providing tailored solutions and services. This customization ensures that community members can address their unique challenges and achieve their business objectives effectively.


Challenges

  • Limited scalability: Community clouds may have limited scalability, depending on the capacity and resources shared among community members. Rapid growth or changes in demand may strain shared resources and impact performance.
  • Governance challenges: Community clouds require robust governance mechanisms to manage shared resources and ensure fair and equitable access for all community members. Organizations must establish clear policies, procedures, and governance structures to promote collaboration, resolve conflicts, and maintain trust within the community.
  • Dependency on community dynamics: The success of community clouds depends on the participation and engagement of community members. Changes in community dynamics or member priorities may affect the availability and quality of shared resources.


Comparison of cloud deployment models

The following chart gives you a quick way to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various cloud deployment models. Three stars indicates a strong benefit – if a particular characteristic is extremely important to your deployment, you should seriously consider the three-star models. Two stars indicates that a model provides the benefit to a lesser degree or that only one component of the model provides a strong benefit. For example, the private cloud component of a hybrid cloud provides strong security and compliance, but the public cloud component doesn’t. A single star indicates that a model can provide that benefit to some degree, but it is not a primary strength. No stars indicates that a model is not a good choice to achieve that particular requirement.


Public cloud Private cloud Hybrid cloud Multicloud Community cloud
Cost-effectiveness       
Scalability        
Accessibility       
Greater control