Jumping Into the Public vs. Private Cloud Computing Solutions Debate

Posted by Mark Teter, Chief Technology Officer
December 12, 2011

I was just reading the Network World article Public vs. Private Cloud Debate Goes On, which discussed the current debate in the industry regarding the benefits of public vs. private clouds and the possible definitions of both. I thought I’d go ahead and throw my opinion in among them.

I think we should drop all the monikers that include the word ‘cloud’ altogether. When you boil it down, cloud computing solutions are all about being—on-premise or off-premise, multi-tenant (public) or dedicated (private), or both (hybrid). Private clouds can exist on or off-premise, whereas public clouds are generally always off-premise. (Although there are a few notable exceptions such as a co-lo provider using its own backup services within their own datacenter.)

The best model for a given organization is the one that provides the optimal business value. If you’ve just built a state-of-the-art datacenter, then you can most likely leverage its capabilities more effectively and efficiently than you could leverage an off-premise service. But keep in mind that the networking costs associated with this model will destroy most ROIs. If you don’t have an energy efficient datacenter, then moving to an off-premise model will more than likely present better economic value for your organization.

In a general sense, I’m not sure why IT organizations are even in the “datacenter” business anymore—except for companies that are large enough to pack their datacenters full of computing gear and drive their compute costs below what Amazon and others are charging. But note that it’s important to include the costs of storage and networking as well as compute in these calculations. The real problem here is that many organizations don’t even know what their computing cost is! That’s why I’d advise organizations to understand how much their current application services cost first before choosing a cloud model.

In June of this year I wrote a blog – Cloud Computing Solutions: Choosing the Right Deployment Option – which might be a good point of reference as people continue the debate. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please share them in the comments field below.


About Mark Teter Before he retired from ASG in 2013, Mark Teter was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the author of 'Paradigm Shift: Seven Keys of Highly successful Linux and Open Source Adoptions.' As CTO, Mark regularly advised IT organizations, vendors, and government agencies, and he frequently conducted seminars and training programs.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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