wellington cloud

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.

13 thoughts on “The siren song of private clouds

  1. Private cloud is basically saying ‘We want exactly what we have, but we want to introduce a bit more lag by moving our servers further away’.

  2. What does this mean? “Public clouds are often far safer than internal IT in almost every department”

    Also, what do you mean by “private cloud”? Most people who talk about “private cloud” are really talking about IaaS which, in the right circumstances, offers real value to organisations who don’t want/need to build up their own data centres while ensuring they know exactly where their data is.

    • What does this mean? “Public clouds are often far safer than internal IT in almost every department”

      Most of the objections to cloud computing are to do with security and continuity issues. In almost every case the objections are wrong. For example: cloud computing offers better physical security and redundancy than running your own hardware.

      • There’s an asterisk on that, in that with the right people, right management, and right funding your own hardware can be as good. It’s just that the people who manage XaaS/Cloud companies these services are their whole business, whereas something like The Warehouse has a lot more things it thinks about above server uptime and redundancy.

  3. “with the right people, right management, and right funding your own hardware can be as good”

    That’s true, but right people, right management and right funding go way further in the public cloud than in any private organisation and that takes us back to the cloud’s commodity price structure.

  4. I’m not sure I agree with the comments in the article “Moving to a private cloud needs a lot of expensive hand-holding. It means hanging on to existing relationships.” How so?

    Private Cloud isn’t about maintaining a traditional virtualised environment. Its about gaining efficiencies through self service and automation. Something that just about every on premise environment lacks. As such, in a highly virtualised, automated environment, there is a lot of cost savings to be had. People doing stuff costs money, hence the benefits of automation.

    • You just touched on it yourself:
      “Something that just about every on premise environment lacks.”

      Not having that talent in-house yet either means training your existing team and gambling on that or using services by other companies (most likely companies you already have contracts with) to help transition, setup, and train people to deal with the new ‘day-to-day’ and emergencies.

      • None of that comes cheap. Listen to what executives at companies like HP, IBM and Dell say as they justify investments in low margin cloud technologies to their boards and investors — they want to pick up the lucrative handholding work.

  5. implementing automation doesn’t cost thousands of dollars, what you are doing it freeing up people to focus their time on more important things. This isn’t a talent thing, its a technology/process thing. Most enterprise customers own the software to do this in any case. There isn’t a big transition as mentioned above to “new emergences”

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