A recent blog article by Thomas J Bittman at Gartner got me thinking about private cloud once again – where it is, what’s happening and where it is going. Thomas’s premise is that private clouds are failing and in his article he outlined the top ten reasons he sees as why. I agree with large portions of the article but at the same time I think there are other points to be made around the discussion.
The ten points Thomas outlined comprise a really great synopsis of the challenges faced by Orange customers when planning, developing and executing their cloud strategy. As with any major technological shift there are always going to be risks and fear of the unfamiliar – for example we have seen these challenges, or “failures”, before with other process transformations such as unified communications or outsourcing. There have been many infamous stories about outsourcing projects that have failed in a big way, but outsourcing nonetheless remains a key strategy for companies that need to optimize costs and focus on core business issues. Essentially, there will always be teething problems.
This is the thing about private cloud; its basic economic foundation remains sound, and will prevail in the end. Private cloud works out as more cost-effective than the traditional data center model and is more agile in responding to business demands. Furthermore, private cloud solutions also work out more economically than public cloud offerings such as those of Amazon or Azure so long as the organization is large enough and has regular enough use of their infrastructure – something that is true for the majority of MNCs.
Other advantages that private cloud has over public include one that is essential to MNCs, and indeed to any size organization really – security. In recent times there have been some major breaches in the news, with the likes of Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Services and others being on the receiving end of attacks that affected customers. As such, for corporate organizations that house lots of sensitive data, private cloud remains a more robust, less risky option.
In defense of the private cloud model
So in response to Thomas Bittman’s Gartner article, I believe that there are a number of great reasons for persisting with private cloud and why it will not be going away any time soon. We see customers enjoying great, sustainable private cloud deployments by following a variety of approaches such as the following:
- By establishing key business metrics beyond the basic cost model and by also understanding how they can measure agility within their business.
- Making sure they have the right organizational structure and processes in place to support the converged view of IT - applications, systems, network and security - with a particular focus on training and staff career development.
- Getting the transition and adoption plan right. It’s important to ensure that the private cloud model dovetails with application teams, so focus on developing an application transition to the private cloud infrastructure and displace legacy costs.
- By developing the right service catalog and implementing a security policy that matches the needs of a private cloud environment. This is vital to the process and will require a full review of the existing security policy and also the role-based access policy.
- Picking the right partner. Working with an expert partner who has done this before maximizes the chances of getting your private cloud deployment right.
Securing your most valuable resources
It is probably fair to say than any organization’s most valuable resources today are its data. Under the public cloud model, these resources are entrusted to outside, unfamiliar entities that have been previously proven to be vulnerable. So placing your precious data in the hands of a provider that could be open to attack puts you at risk.
So even from that perspective, any organization, small, medium or MNC, that wants to avoid unnecessary risk should consider private cloud to be the safest way forward for maximum peace of mind. Under private cloud all remains internal so there is easier control and monitoring and you know whose responsibility that valuable data is. It is my view that while public cloud remains at risk and vulnerable to attacks, private cloud is a truly viable and sensible option.
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Khaled is VP of IT Services Europe at Orange Business Services