Some people feel that private cloud computing models let IT departments deliver and capitalize on their existing IT investments while driving up utilization rates. Others argue that the public cloud is easier to adopt because you don’t need to make that initial investment in newer data center technologies, and it therefore provides a better return.
Our own financial analysis of the cloud computing models suggest that, while the initial investment in private cloud computing models is greater than using a public cloud solution, by year three the returns favor private cloud computing.
Plus, new offerings from Hitachi Data Systems and Cisco are making a private cloud computing infrastructure more and more of a reality for many organizations. Delivering a private cloud computing model is about following a series of steps according to HDS:
An effective path to the private cloud is a series of steps. The first is to consolidate resources into a smaller, more efficient data center footprint. Second, leverage virtualization technologies to create on-demand pools of compute and storage resources. Third, automate IT management and provisioning processes for simplified management and administration. Adding self-service capabilities completes what is needed to build a true private cloud. These steps form a new private cloud enablement methodology that builds a reliable, secure, flexible foundation for service-based delivery.
Given the investment needed to build and deploy a private cloud infrastructure, it may well be suited for enterprise organizations or those requiring greater data security, such as financial institutions. As companies modernize their data centers, capitalize on virtualization technologies, and deploy unified computing platforms, they’ll be in a better position to leverage private cloud computing. As Lydia Leong, an analyst in Gartner’s technology and service provide group states:
The private cloud approach also dovetails with existing investments in virtualization software. The enterprise has big investments in virtualization. With private cloud, you can extend those investments if you don’t have the appetite for looking at new solutions.
Smaller organizations can lease private clouds or even take advantage of hybrid cloud computing, where their data remains on-site and non-essential IT is relegated to the public cloud. This model can be more cost effective in the long run versus a pure public cloud environment. Investments aside, data security still is the main consideration with finding a cloud computing solution. One of the main concerns of security professionals anticipating an organizational switch to a cloud computing solutions model is the loss of visibility into attacks in progress, particularly with SaaS offerings. Performance management down to the end-user is also challenging. What works well at your main facility may not work well with your outlying facilities.
In the end, cloud computing solutions are all about change to your environment and your control over asset storage, security, workflows, and data availability. However, much of what runs across your existing IT landscape today is actually very predictable and probably doesn’t need the extreme flexibility touted by public cloud technology and service vendors. Traditional infrastructure and hosting models will therefore co-exist with dynamic private clouds and ‘on demand’ or ‘elastic’ cloud services for the foreseeable future.