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Bill Bennett

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The siren song of private clouds

Private clouds are hot at the moment. Big companies — the computer industry calls them ‘enterprises’ probably after watching too much Star Trek — want cloud computing.

They get the cloud premise. Cloud computing replaces expensive infrastructure with pay-as-you-go services. Cloud providers charge commodity prices.

Flip IBM in favour of AWS; free up capital and slash costs. That’s the siren song they hear calling.

But public clouds are… well… public. That scares the pants of corporate boards.

It shouldn’t. Public clouds are often far safer than internal IT in almost every department.

And then there’s the need to accommodate existing applications, infrastructure and systems.

Pretty soon, someone floats the idea of a private cloud. Private means higher margins for suppliers. Bang goes commodity pricing.

Moving to a private cloud needs a lot of expensive hand-holding. It means hanging on to existing relationships.

The lesson of the 1990s Business Process Re-engineering movement was that wiping the slate clear and moving on is cheaper and more effective in the long run despite massive disruption.

Businesses will be disrupted anyway as they move to private clouds. Smarter ones are learning to take the pain on the chin and go the whole way to the public cloud.

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