Public, private, it's all just the cloud

Defining the cloud might be the first step to using it.
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

Over the last few months, many of the press releases that have crossed my desk have made reference to the private cloud. In fact, there have been so many such references, it would seem that cloud computing has really taken hold in the workplace.

Of course, the reality is that it is almost all just marketing and PR hype.  The "private" cloud is, for just about every product I've seen that uses that terminology, just a rebranding of the business's current networking infrastructure in a PR attempt to make it seem more relevant. Or rather to make products that are being pitched seem more relevant with the buzz words of technology today.

Granted, there are products for which this distinction makes sense. Technologies that allow the seamless integration of services that are provided locally with services that are provided from the cloud. But the majority of the PR stuff I'm seeing isn't in this category.

I'm not offended by this attempt by marketing to co-op the term cloud for their use. If fact, it probably isn't a bad idea, but not for the reason that these PR folks are using it. The positive side of the generic use of the term "cloud" is to get users (and IT) accustomed to focusing on the services being delivered and not on the mechanism being used to deliver those services.

This approach brings the focus back to the business needs of the enterprise and not the technology requirements. Service delivery needs to be the mantra of the datacenter and IT departments and the source of those services shouldn't be the issue.  Service integration with the existing environments and leveraging current IT services to maximize the potential value of public cloud-based services will give any business the maximum value from current and future service delivery.

This isn't to say that businesses will, or should, just take a laundry list of requests from various business departments and attempt to deliver all requested services; that is where the knowledge that IT needs to have of the corporate business model comes into play, in defining those services which most effectively serve the business needs.

So while IT and vendors deal with the issues of the public and private cloud and work on defining the terms, business is just looking for the services that can be acquired from "the cloud" regardless of where it resides.  Perhaps the PR push to make everything into"the cloud" will have a beneficial effect.

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