Private Clouds: Unassigned Territory - InformationWeek

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Commentary
5/27/2010
06:12 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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Private Clouds: Unassigned Territory

The public cloud is a given. Software-as-a-service now rings true with most IT managers and infrastructure-as-a-service is at least a familiar concept, owing to its similarity to data-center co-location and outsourcing. Private clouds, on the other hand, are much less familiar, and much more intimidating, to judge from recent feedback.

The public cloud is a given. Software-as-a-service now rings true with most IT managers and infrastructure-as-a-service is at least a familiar concept, owing to its similarity to data-center co-location and outsourcing. Private clouds, on the other hand, are much less familiar, and much more intimidating, to judge from recent feedback.

Still, somebody must be interested in private clouds, if market forecasts are to be believed. (Big if, I realize.)

In a recent column in InformationWeek, Art Wittmann discusses the results of a poll about plans for private clouds and they are not exactly enthusiastic. Feedback from the poll includes phrases like "too vague," "toying with," and "testing stage," according to Wittmann.

That reticence is not of-a-piece with recent prognostications by market research firm IDC, which predicts that server revenue for private cloud computing will grow to $11.8 billion in 2014 from $7.3 billion last year.

Private clouds promise the advantages of cloud computing, such as resource flexibility and optimization, while mitigating some of the limitations of the public cloud, namely questions around security and compliance.

Wittmann says the two biggest obstacles to private clouds, according to the InformationWeek poll, are "no perceived business need" and "uncertainty about security."

The security issue is a puzzler, given that the point of private clouds is that they operate behind the corporate firewall. On the other hand, reticence around real versus perceived business need is certainly understandable, though it should be recognized for the short-term tactic that it is.

Wittmann advocates a go-slow approach to private clouds, which is never a bad strategy, especially when it comes to new technology. But not too slow. For if IDC is to be believed, there are organizations already arming themselves for the private cloud wars.The public cloud is a given. Software-as-a-service now rings true with most IT managers and infrastructure-as-a-service is at least a familiar concept, owing to its similarity to data-center co-location and outsourcing. Private clouds, on the other hand, are much less familiar, and much more intimidating, to judge from recent feedback.

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