12 reasons why public clouds are better than private clouds

Summary:Public clouds have the edge over their internal counterparts in security, reliability, and elasticity, according to the author of a new book on enterprise architecture.

To see many of the advantages of cloud computing without its risks, many enterprises are turning to private clouds, which are service layers contained within their firewalls that look and feel like public clouds. But these private clouds may actually be less secure and reliable than the public services.

Data Center NASA Photo credit NASA Office of the CIO
Image: NASA; Office of the CIO

That's the view of Jason Bloomberg, who said private clouds often add up to more trouble than they're worth. In his latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution: How Cloud Computing, REST-Based SOA, and Mobile Computing Are Changing Enterprise IT, Jason outlined the reasons why public cloud may ultimately be a better choice for enterprises.

You may not agree with Jason's premise about on-premises — in fact, I expect violent disagreement. And this is more of an either/or argument, rather than raising the possibility of blended strategies, such as employing public clouds as test beds, but keeping applications in production within private clouds.

That said, here are Jason's arguments for public cloud and against private cloud:

  1. Private clouds tend to use older technology than public clouds: You may have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new hardware and software, but try getting your organization to agree to that every year.

  2. Public clouds shift capital expenses to operational expenses: It's pay as you go, versus building an entire datacenter, no matter how virtualized it may be.

  3. Public clouds have better utilization rates: With private cloud, your organization still has to build and maintain all kinds of servers to meet spikes in demand across various divisions or functions. Public cloud offers the same spare demand on a pay-as-you-need-it basis.

  4. Public clouds keep infrastructure costs low for new projects: With private clouds, you still need to scare up sometimes scarce on-site resources for unplanned projects that may pop up.

  5. Public clouds offer greater elasticity: "You'll never consume all the capacity of a public cloud, but your private cloud is another matter entirely."

  6. Public clouds get enterprises out of the "datacenter business": establishing private cloud probably gets you in deeper into the DC business than with traditional on-premises servers.

  7. Public clouds have greater economies of scale: No private cloud can compete with the likes of Google and Amazon on price. And the public providers are constantly buying boatloads of the latest security technology.

  8. Public clouds are hardened through continual hacking attempts: Thousands of hackers have been pounding Google and Amazon for years now. The public cloud providers are ready for anything at this point.

  9. Public clouds attract the best security people available: They seek out the top security experts, will pay them top dollar, and treat them as the most important part of their businesses, which they are. Do traditional enterprises treat security teams this way?

  10. Private clouds suffer from "perimeter complacency": "If it's on the internal network, it must be secure!" 'nuff said...

  11. Private cloud staff competence is an unknown: Your organization may have a lot of talented and knowledgeable people, but is data security the main line of your business?

  12. Private cloud penetration testing is insufficient: Even if you test your applications and networks on a regular basis (which man organizations don't), these only tell you if things are secure at that exact moment.

Topics: Cloud, IT Employment, IT Priorities, Security

About

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. Joe is co-author, along with 16 leading industry leaders and thinkers, of the SOA Manifesto, which outlines the values and guiding principles of service orientation. He speaks frequently on cloud, SOA, data, and... Full Bio

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