The Swimming Pool Model of Public and Private Clouds

This morning, I recorded a podcast with Keith Shaw from Network World. Our discussion was about the 5 mistakes people make when moving out into the cloud. The podcast should be available next week, but in the meantime, I thought I would share a nice analogy that Keith came up with illustrating the difference between public and private clouds.

Clouds are like swimming pools. Private clouds are like a pool in your backyard. Every pool has a fence for reasons of practicality and liability. Since this is your pool, you get to decide who is allowed to go for a dip. Sometimes there is only one person in the pool; sometimes there’s ten—but anybody going for a swim is your responsibility. Each day you add chlorine and keep up with the cleaning. But more likely, you hire someone to do this for you.

Public clouds are like public pools. Someone else—probably the city—builds the pool and maintains it. Anyone who can pay the admission is welcome, as long as they agree to follow a few simple rules. There are lifeguards to watch over you and your kids, and you trust the pool management has checked them out to make sure they are trustworthy and posses the proper credentials. Often the public pool is crowded, and there is this annoying fat kid that keeps doing cannonballs close to where you are swimming, but overall it provides good value. True, once you came home with a strange itch, but the local public pool is certainly cheaper and a lot less work than maintaining your own.

It’s just too bad they don’t serve daiquiris.

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