Public, private or hybrid cloud PBX?

Market preferences tracked from two perspectives

As cloud-based PBX deployments show accelerating growth, a fascinating sub-plot is unfolding, with public, private and hybrid installations all finding favour*. The question is – which configuration will gain preference as the market matures, and in what circumstances?

Industry perspective

“From our point of view, public cloud installations are preferred in more than 56% of deployments, and private and hybrid installations in 22% of cases respectively,” says Rob Lith, Director of Connection Telecom.

“When measured by extensions, the picture is reversed. Close to 60% of our extensions are private, while 12% are hybrid, and 28% public.” 

A clear inference can be made from this, he points out. “Large companies, which represent a small base of our install base but the majority of extensions deployed, prefer private hosted solutions, while a large number of smaller customers, representing a comparatively small number of extensions, favours public.”

He says large companies prefer private cloud deployments because it allows them to leverage their considerable investments in high-end network and data resources and equipment, thus retaining control over the running and support of their deployments.

Lith reveals that Connection Telecom’s hybrid install base is made up of a small but growing base of large customers, whether measured in customer numbers, sites (which may involve multiple branches or chain stores) or extensions.

“These customers are planning to grow their solution footprint significantly, so in extension numbers they might in time get close to the number of private extensions out there for us.”

Research view

Research has shed further light on this question, in the form of the ITWeb Unified Communications 2011 user survey (

The survey finds that, over the next two years, 23% of respondents will look at hosting private voice installations themselves. 28% will look at serviced provider-hosted private solutions; 16% at publicly-hosted solutions; and 32% at on-site least-cost routing installations (non-hosted). The private-public split is therefore 51%-16%, with no provision for hybrid implementations.

While it is impossible to compare the findings from ITWeb’s user-centric survey to Connection Telecom’s customer, site and extension metrics, the ITWeb sample base provides broad correlation of Lith’s observations.

Close to 25% of respondents of the survey represented small companies, while nearly 75% were from large enterprises. In that light, it is not surprising that a majority felt private installations were the way to go. 


Lith says as cloud PBX adoption continues to accelerate, the above findings appear indicative of a market-wide trend. “Depending on the customer split of a particular service provider, we think it is quite predictable what the public-private-hybrid weighting will be.”

* Public cloud implementations reside in off-site data centres owned by the service provider (SP). Private cloud implementations reside in customer-owned data centres, hosted by the customer or the SP, on- or off-site. Hybrid implementations reside in customer-owned data centres, and calls are carried out over a virtual private network via a public switch.

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Public, private or hybrid cloud PBX?