Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Public Cloud by Any Other Name is Private

Over the last week I have been away on vacation so I've missed some recent debates among the clouderati. I'm home today before I leave for Europe tomorrow, before I leave I wanted to comment on these debates. In particular the one that started because of Appirio’s corporate blog post “Rise and Fall of the Private Cloud and the comments made by Hoff in response.

According to Hoff's post, the short and sweet, of Appirio’s stance on Private Cloud is as follows.

Here’s the rub: Private clouds are just an expensive data center with a fancy name. We predict that 2009 will represent the rise and fall of this over-hyped concept. Of course, virtualization, service-oriented architectures, and open standards are all great things for every company operating a data center to consider. But all this talk about “private clouds” is a distraction from the real news: the vast majority of companies shouldn’t need to worry about operating any sort of data center anymore, cloud-like or not.

As Hoff always does, he cuts to the bone with his closing remarks.
It’s really silly to suggest that the only thing an enterprise will do is simply move “legacy applications as-is to a new and improved data center” without any enterprise modernization, any optimization or the ability to more efficiently migrate to new and improved applications as the agility, flexibility and mobility issues are tackled.

Let’s be real, Appirio is in the business of “Enabling enterprise adoption of on-demand for and Google Enterprise” — two examples of externally hosted SaaS offerings that clearly aren’t aimed at enterprises who would otherwise be thinking about Private Cloud.

Let me boil down my view of what a private cloud is into the most simplistic terms possible. It's a point of view. Let me put it another way, imagine for a moment that Amazon had built their Elastic Compute Cloud with all the same characteristics of the current EC2 offering but instead of making it available for public usage, they only make it available internally? What would you call that? I'd call it a private cloud.

In a nutshell a private cloud is the attempt to build an Amazon or Google or even a Microsoft style web centric data center infrastructure in your own data center on your own equipment. For me, and the customers we typically deal with at Enomaly -- a private cloud is about applying the added benefits of elasticity, rapid scale (internal or external), resource efficiency and utilization flexibility that you gain by managing your infrastructure as a multi tenant service. So at the end of the day one person's public cloud is an others private cloud, it just depends on your point of view.
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