Rackspace Cloud Library

What is a Public Cloud?

A public cloud is a web-based service model in which a hosting provider offers shared resources, like apps, servers and storage, to the general public. It’s a multi-tenant environment, with different customers using the same pool of IT infrastructure. You pay for these shared resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. The leading public clouds include Amazon Web Services (AWS)®, Google Cloud Platform® and Microsoft Azure®.

How Does a Public Cloud Work?

Public cloud is one of three types of clouds. There are also private clouds and hybrid clouds. A private cloud is dedicated to a single organization and provides it with strong control and security over its apps, data and systems. A hybrid cloud incorporates two different kinds of clouds — often a public and private cloud — that are interconnected so they can share apps and data.

Public clouds are the most popular form of cloud computing, According to RightScale’s State of the Cloud survey, 89% of organizations used the public cloud in 2016.

Private clouds are the second most popular type of cloud, with a 77% adoption rate. Hybrid clouds lag behind both public and private clouds, with 71% of organizations using them.

Today, many organizations use both public and private clouds. The RightScale respondents, for instance, typically use three public clouds and three private clouds. Increasingly, medium and large enterprises operate in a multi-cloud world.

Why Use a Public Cloud?


A public cloud provides easy and fast scalability of compute, storage and other web-based resources. Servers can be deployed in minutes or hours, instead of days or weeks.

Lower Costs

Users save money, as they don’t have to pay for data center costs like hardware, software and IT staff. They also benefit from economies of scale, as the data centers costs are shared among all users.


A public cloud provider has multiple geographically dispersed data centers with redundant configurations. Should a single data center suffer an outage, a customer’s cloud service is unaffected.


Most public clouds allow you to add networking, storage, databases and more, with just a click.

How Can Rackspace Help?

We can help you get the most out of the world’s leading clouds, backed by specialized expertise, always-on service and 24x7x365 support.

Amazon Web Services

Maximize your AWS investment with Fanatical Support for AWS. We have 2200+ AWS technical certifications with areas of expertise that include architecture design, security, migration and operations.

Google Cloud Platform

Get proactive support and always on expertise so you can maximixe your investment in Google Cloud.

Microsoft Azure

Overcome the technical challenges and complexity of Azure with Fanatical Support for Azure. Not only do our experts possess 1000+ Microsoft certifications, but we’re also the only five-time Microsoft® Hosting Partner of the Year.

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