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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.

Traditional private cloud infrastructure deployed on-premise has solved this billing problem. Deployed on top of acquired hardware, traditional private cloud provides an organization with a single pool of non-elastic resources that makes budget estimates easy to calculate, but eliminates the value of pay as you go economics, and removes much of the agility that cloud infrastructures have promised.   

Organizations should search for an ideal implementation that delivers a consistent and predictable billing methodology coupled with the ability to elastically add and remove resources from that capacity pool.

4. Integration with existing IT infrastructure.  To stay current, many organizations have made significant investments in existing data center infrastructure, including load balancers, IDS/IPS, SAN, database infrastructure, and more. These legacy networks are often still very early in their lifespan and an investment IT departments are very hesitant to waste.  

Public clouds offer the capability to directly connect to these legacy networks, but those connections often impact the economic benefits of private data centers and come with their own set of hurdles, including ease of use penalties.

On-premise private cloud, with its flexible configuration capabilities, has historically been touted as an easier way to bridge this legacy infrastructure with modern cloud environments. Yet these on-premise offerings miss the benefits of elastic infrastructure and still require capital spending.

With the addition of provider-based direct connect, organizations should now consider the possibility of deploying hosted private cloud infrastructure still integrated within this on-premise equipment. In this scenario, capacity management is the responsibility of the provider eliminating the capital expenditures for initial infrastructure builds and ongoing physical scaling while delivering the benefits of directly connected cloud infrastructure and ensuring elastic capabilities.

5. Elastic Capabilities.  One of the primary benefits of cloud infrastructure is its elastic capabilities. Public cloud providers validated this as a highly demanded characteristic. Yet elastic capabilities within private cloud technology stacks have been elusive.

With traditional on-premise private cloud, delivering elasticity creates a unique challenge as capacity is governed solely by the infrastructure an organization has deployed. Adding capacity to on-premise private cloud is a drawn-out process involving finance, procurement, data center operations and IT and can often be measured in weeks or months.

Enterprise IT buyers are searching for providers who can deliver on the top four characteristics of private cloud infrastructure, but also deliver elastic resources and pricing.

It's important to remember, this isn't a zero sum game and organizations can and should ultimately use a combination of private, hosted private and public infrastructure. Each addresses certain business needs and use cases, and when combined truly deliver on the promise of the cloud.


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