The private vs. public cloud debate of 2009 has taken a turn for the nasty in the IT trade publications and blogosphere. Recently, CIO Zone writer Michael Neubarth published an exhaustive summary of the debate and case against private clouds in an article entitled “Are Private Clouds Hogwash?” This has once again lit up the raging debate among bloggers such as Lorraine Lawson and Michael Kavis with each wondering whether private clouds actually exist and who they actually would ideally serve—vendors jumping on marketing hype-machine bandwagons (which Kavis calls “cloudwashing”) or actual enterprises in need of a different computing model.
If private clouds are hogwash, then so are clouds in general. Here’s why:
· Cloud is a delivery model or style of computing. This kind of computing is equally as applicable to IT service providers and those than run IT as an internal private service as it is to those who offer external or public services.
· The notion of private vs. public is separate from what’s internal and external. Private and public and internal and external need not all be mutually exclusive.
· Platform Computing looks at this style of computing in terms of how the computing is distributed. Clusters, grids, clouds—these terms are generally accepted to define an architecture. Private and public clouds are generally accepted terms that convey real markets, real architectures and real opportunities. Each of these are meaningfully different and worth contrasting.
· The private market is already and will be larger than the public cloud market for the foreseeable future, with Gartner forecasting the private clouds dominating 75% of the cloud market vs. 25% for public throughout 2010 and 2011.
· Clouds cannot be defined as just VMs or just outsourced IT. Limiting clouds to these misses the point of cloud. The fact is that most public cloud providers (such as Google) run on physical servers and most of these providers envy the type of secure internal/private environments that enterprise IT departments have just as much as those internal IT departments envy the ability to run systems on commoditized, homogenous, scaleable architectures.
Ultimately, both types of cloud sit on two sides of the same coin. Private clouds are real, not hogwash or cloudwash. They’re not going away any time soon and companies are already implementing them whether they’re called “clouds” or not.
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