Network World is now running a new feature called “Tech Debate,” where they’re pitting industry experts against each other to debate current hot topics. Not surprisingly, this week’s topic was “Cloud: Public or Private,” which pitted Dave Malcolm, Chief Technology Officer of Surgient, arguing for private clouds against Siki Giunta, Global VP of Cloud Computing & Cloud Services of CSC, arguing for public.
We’re in Dave’s corner in this debate, but don’t feel that this conversation is as black and white as the media would like it to be. Ideally, private clouds provide IT and end users ways to manage, allocate and share resources and workloads that maximize the entire infrastructure while keeping information secure within the firewall. In addition, deploying a private cloud using an independent management layer also helps avoid lock-in issues because it provides the means to help make physical and virtual--as well as legacy and new systems--interoperable.
For companies with small IT teams or less complicated compute needs, the public cloud can be an easy answer. But companies with large IT teams and more complex infrastructures, however, can spend a small fortune for enterprise apps, and have often built intricate infrastructures that can be a tangled web of legacy systems and architectures. Add in a global presence and high performance compute requirements and the desire to manage that infrastructure securely and safely is an increasingly important element in evaluating cloud technologies. Can you trust your apps to the public cloud? If you are at one of these big global brands that I mentioned before, I can bet your legal departments probably don’t want you to.
As for the scale argument that Giunta poses when it comes to public clouds, scale isn’t limited to the public cloud domain. Having come from a distributing computing background and managed cluster and grid systems for everything from large financial institutions running complex trading algorithms to heavy scientific research calculations, we’ve been scaling huge systems within firewalls for years. Public clouds may be able to add capacity for hybrid situations and may give SMBs what they need to start easily and scale fast, but enterprises will ultimately need to build out their own systems that meet their needs for security, provisioning and management.
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