Public clouds are managed by a third-party cloud provider. Public cloud computing resources are shared among multiple customers, unlike private clouds.
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A public cloud is a cloud service offered to multiple customers by a cloud provider. The term "public cloud" is used to differentiate between the original cloud model of services accessed over the Internet and the private cloud model. Public clouds include SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS services.
Like all cloud services, a public cloud service runs on remote servers that a provider manages. Customers of that provider access those services over the Internet.
A private cloud is a cloud service that is not shared with any other organization. The private cloud user has the cloud to themselves.
By contrast, a public cloud is a cloud service that shares computing services among different customers, even though each customer's data and applications running in the cloud remain hidden from other cloud customers.
A public cloud is like renting an apartment, while a private cloud is like renting a similarly sized house. The house is more private, but it also typically costs more to rent, and it's not the most efficient use of resources. Maintenance in the apartment is handled by the building supervisor, but it's harder to get a contractor out to fix the house (sometimes, the tenant may have to do it themselves).
There are hosted private clouds, which are offered by a third party cloud provider, and internal private clouds, which are managed and maintained by an organization internally.
Because multiple organizations share a public cloud, multiple organizations will sometimes be using the same physical server at the same time. This is called multitenancy.
Multitenancy is when multiple customers of a cloud provider are accessing the same server. Data from two different companies could be stored on the same server, or processes from two different applications could be running on the same server.
Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments both incorporate public clouds:
For Cloudflare customers, the Cloudflare network sits in front of public clouds for greater security and performance. Network traffic from end users is directed to the nearest Cloudflare data center, and the full Cloudflare product stack runs in every data center, reducing latency and filtering out malicious traffic. For those organizations that also want to incorporate an on-premises data center, a private cloud, or multiple public clouds, Cloudflare also supports hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, or any other type of infrastructure. Cloudflare also minimizes the risk of vendor lock-in by serving as a single control plane for multiple essential functions, including DNS, SSL/TLS encryption, DDoS protection, and CDN caching.
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