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5 things to consider when weighing public cloud against private cloud

Jesse Proudman, founder, Blue Box Group Inc. | Feb. 6, 2014
Private clouds address a prevalent set of challenges and issues that public clouds cannot and can help smooth cloud adoption.

A few years ago the only cloud game in town was the public cloud, but today private and hybrid clouds are also true contenders.  In fact, private cloud implementations address a prevalent set of challenges and issues that public clouds cannot and can help speed up and smooth the way of cloud adoption.

Here are five core tenets you should assess when weighing private cloud against public cloud options:

1. Ease of Use.  IT's responsibilities lie not just in the implementation of technology, but in its ongoing operation and support. Unfortunately, from both an operation as well as a utilisation perspective, new technologies tend to be a time and resource drain. Today's public cloud technologies require IT teams learn a new vocabulary and new operational practices. Arguably, this hurdle has been one of the largest barriers for a more rapid rate of cloud adoption and the cause of much pain for those that have.

Private cloud technology stacks are building upon the promise of a simpler path to implementation and on-going operation. For private cloud to be widely adopted, IT buyers should look for simple offerings that eliminate installation and operational burdens while easing the long-term support load.

2. Security Policy Control.  Data security is the most frequently voiced concern around the adoption of public cloud. While public cloud infrastructures can most certainly be effectively secured, those implementations rely on an intimate knowledge of a new security model and require consistent application against new APIs and tools.

As organisations face greater compliance pressures, they should seek solutions that provide a physical "air gap" around their cloud infrastructure. Inherently, private cloud is single tenant from the metal on up and provides a clean point of demarcation. The air gap it provides can be secured with physical security appliances, ensuring full segregation from software defined security groups and allowing for security policy to be defined one level down the stack.

This air gap eases implementation of security practices without requiring an entire re-work of the security approach, ensuring IT teams can focus their energy where it is most impactful.

3. Cost Predictability.  While "pay as you go" cloud infrastructure has brought an entirely new economic consumption model to IT, many organizations become frustrated when attempting to predict how much they'll owe at the end of the month. IT budgets are projected a year in advance, yet multi-vitiate billing methodologies make projecting capacity plans into actionable budgets a true struggle.

Furthermore, shadow IT operations and developers can cause significant budgeting challenges by running under the radar or forgetting about the instances they have running. When an unexpectedly large bill arrives at the end of the month it can cripple an IT department or organizations bottom line.


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