Types of Cloud Computing

Types of cloud computing

The world of cloud computing is constantly evolving, and with it, the types of clouds available to businesses and individuals. In the past, the differences between public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds were straightforward. However, as technology advances, these distinctions have become more nuanced and complex. Let’s take a closer look at each type of cloud computing and how they differ from one another.

Public Clouds

Public clouds are cloud environments that are typically created from IT infrastructure not owned by the end user. Some of the largest public cloud providers include Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Traditionally, public clouds were always located off-premises. However, modern public cloud providers now offer cloud services on clients’ on-premise data centers. This has blurred the lines of location and ownership, making the distinctions obsolete.

Additionally, all clouds can become public clouds when the environments are partitioned and redistributed to multiple tenants. Fee structures are no longer necessary characteristics of public clouds, as some cloud providers allow tenants to use their clouds for free. Public cloud providers can also abstract their bare-metal IT infrastructure and sell it as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or develop it into a cloud platform known as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Private Clouds

Private clouds refer to cloud environments that are solely dedicated to a single end user or group. These environments usually run behind the user or group’s firewall, providing complete isolation.

Similar to public clouds, the location and ownership of private clouds are no longer limited to on-premise IT infrastructure. Organizations now have the option to build private clouds on rented, vendor-owned data centers located off-premises, which challenges the traditional rules of location and ownership.

There are various subtypes of private clouds, including:

Managed Private Clouds

Managed private clouds are created and operated by third-party vendors. Customers can leverage these clouds to improve their private cloud services and infrastructure, especially if they have understaffed or underskilled IT teams.

Dedicated Clouds

A dedicated cloud refers to a cloud within another cloud. For example, an accounting department could have its own dedicated cloud within the organization’s private cloud. Dedicated clouds can exist on public clouds, such as Red Hat OpenShift® Dedicated, or on private clouds.

Hybrid Clouds

A hybrid cloud is an integrated IT environment that combines multiple cloud environments through local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and/or APIs.

The characteristics and requirements of hybrid clouds can vary depending on the specific use case. Some examples of hybrid clouds include:

  • At least one private cloud and at least one public cloud.
  • Two or more private clouds.
  • Two or more public clouds.
  • A bare-metal or virtual environment connected to at least one public or private cloud.

Essentially, any IT system becomes a hybrid cloud when applications can move seamlessly between multiple connected environments. These environments often need to be sourced from consolidated IT resources that can scale on demand. Managing these environments as a single entity requires an integrated management and orchestration platform.


Multiclouds are cloud environments that consist of more than one cloud service from multiple cloud vendors, whether public or private. While all hybrid clouds are multiclouds, not all multiclouds are hybrid clouds. Multiclouds become hybrid clouds when the multiple clouds are connected through integration or orchestration.

Multicloud environments can be intentional, aiming to have better control over sensitive data or to provide redundant storage for improved disaster recovery. They can also arise accidentally, often due to shadow IT practices. Regardless of the intention, having multiple clouds is becoming increasingly common among enterprises that seek to enhance security, performance, and flexibility through a diverse portfolio of environments.


Q: Which cloud type is best for my business?

A: The ideal cloud type for your business depends on your specific requirements and goals. Public clouds offer scalability and cost-effectiveness, while private clouds provide more control and security. Hybrid clouds combine the best of both worlds, allowing for flexibility and optimization. Multiclouds are suitable when you need to leverage the strengths of multiple cloud vendors. Consider your business needs and consult with experts to determine the most suitable cloud strategy.

Q: Can I switch between cloud types?

A: Yes, it is possible to switch between cloud types. Many organizations start with one cloud type and later choose to adopt a different approach as their needs evolve. Migrating between cloud types requires careful planning, data management, and potential application modifications. It is advisable to consult with professionals who can guide you through a seamless transition.


Understanding the different types of cloud computing is essential for businesses and individuals looking to leverage the benefits of cloud technology. Public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds offer unique advantages, and selecting the right cloud approach depends on specific requirements and goals. By harnessing the power of cloud computing, organizations can enhance scalability, flexibility, security, and overall operational efficiency.

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