As mentioned above, public cloud hosting is provided by brand names you recognize. These are the stereotypical cloud centers — the huge, multiple-acre, measured in square miles warehouses that host the physical servers that run thousands and thousands of organizations’ cloud infrastructure, software, and security measures.
Public cloud services are deemed as such because if you rent a cloud server from a public provider, your data, programs, security, and infrastructure will live on the same hardware as another organization’s data, programs, security, and infrastructure.
Not just one, in fact, but thousands. It is important to make the distinction that just because your organization’s digital environment shares hardware with a multitude of other digital environments, your information is not accessible to them, just as their information is not accessible to you.
When you sign up for public cloud hosting, you are essentially making an agreement that another company will manage your data, programs, infrastructure, or whatever else you plan on hosting using their services. The way your data is managed is up to the cloud provider, not your business.
This isn’t to say your data will be mismanaged, or that it will be used in ways you didn’t consent to (in fact, public cloud providers can’t look at the data that is hosted on their servers) — merely that it is the cloud provider’s responsibility to manage the hardware your data is hosted on.
Public cloud providers manage, as stated above, thousands and thousands of different digital environments, as well as the physical servers the digital environments are stored on. When a physical server needs maintenance, the portion of your data that is stored on that server will be moved to another server in their hosting center.
This happens regularly, as server banks are maintained and updated to ensure there are no points of failure. In fact, the data of a single file could be hosted on multiple different pieces of hardware in a cloud provider’s warehouse. This is why cloud providers can boast 99.999% up-time. By decentralizing the storage of data, when there is an issue with one server, the rest can take on the extra burden.