Does the private cloud 'surge' lack business sense?

A veteran CTO, architect and evangelist asks if private cloud computing is a fatally flawed concept.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Is private cloud computing a fatally flawed concept?

Ian Thomas responded to my recent post on companies doing private cloud for clouds' sake, and not building a business case beforehand. (Shades of the whole SOA debate that has been going on for the past few years.)

In a recent post, Ian also warned of private cloud projects being driven too much in the name of IT, and not in the name of the business. He observes that many private cloud initiatives seek to address "control, service, and security," and hence, are being pitched as alternatives to public cloud engagements.  In the process, private cloud cases fail to take on the greater business "ilities" cloud computing could deliver -- flexibility, agility, and scalability, to name a few.

Private clouds are just another way or perpetuating limited, closed systems, and the true promise of cloud lies in opening up to the global network, Ian says.  As he puts it:

"The very concerns that are expressed as reasons not to move to cloud models – due to a concentration on FUD around a small number of technical issues – are actually the things that businesses have most to gain from should they be bold and start a managed transition to new models. Cloud models will give them control over their IT by allowing them to choose from different providers to optimize different areas of their business without sacrificing scale and management benefits; service levels of cloud providers – whilst not currently guaranteed – are often better than they’ve ever experienced and entrusting security to focused third parties is probably smarter than leaving it as one of many diverse concerns for stretched IT departments."

In other words, the trade off for more security risk is more access to opportunities for growth in capabilities and resources.  That's a trade off that's been constantly weighed or made since the Internet first exploded on the business scene almost two decades ago. The cloud magnifies that question.

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