Private clouds were popular in the early days of cloud computing, when enterprises struggled with security and control issues. Countless CIOs repeated the same adage to me: If they can't touch their cloud servers, those servers are not to be trusted.
These days, public cloud dominates. The recent "State of the Cloud Study" from RightScale illustrates this fact. As name-brand public clouds become more popular, Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft will continue to grow, and more enterprises will move away from private clouds.
Many factors contributed to private clouds falling from grace, but I could cite a few:
- Owning a private cloud still means owning hardware and software. Thus, there is very little cost benefit over traditional systems. Of course, private clouds are much more expensive than public clouds, and in many cases, they provide less functionality.
- The security Armageddon predicted by many private cloud and traditional enterprise technology providers never happened.
- Companies -- and divisions of companies -- that focus on private cloud technology have not enjoyed booming success.
What happened to the thousands and thousands of private clouds implemented only a few years ago? They are still in enterprise data centers.
Some private cloud implementations provide good value to the enterprise and can be considered successes. More often, enterprise IT has chalked up past private cloud implementations as "seemed like a good idea at the time." They cost too much, were difficult to implement, and failed to provide the value the private cloud technology provider promised.
Hopefully, enterprise IT will soon see the light with public cloud computing. They will come to realize their private clouds failures and take steps to migrate workloads to the places where they can operate with the maximum cost efficiency. The failure to do so is a waste of money, plain and simple.
I suspect many enterprises are still in denial around the private cloud. However, as public and hybrid clouds become more common, they will have to go into their data center and face the servers at some point. It might as well be now, before the bill gets too expensive.
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