Private cloud not so popular, reveals study

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 11, 2013

Cloud computing

Of all the cloud offerings available in the market, private cloud is hitherto thought of to be the most popular. However, on closer inspection, it turns out that it is quite the opposite. A Forrester research showed that 31 percent of its enterprise customers claim to have a private cloud in place, and another 17 percent plan to build one in the next 12 months.

A closer look revealed that only 13 percent of those organizations that report having a private cloud have a “true” private cloud, said Lauren Nelson, an analyst with the firm.

“Most have adopted a software solution that improves their management capabilities,” Nelson said. More often than not, those so-called private clouds don’t include some key characteristics of a cloud—for example, multi-tenancy, end-user self-service or metered usage.

Alex Barrett, editor in chief of Modern Infrastructure writes that part of private cloud’s problem could be IT’s loosey-goosey interpretation about what it is and therefore what it brings to the table.

While experts define private cloud as dedicated resources running behind the firewall that are organized into an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in turn, says that an IaaS cloud must include five essential characteristics to be a true cloud: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity and measured service.

IT’s working definition for private cloud is quite different, Aneel Lakhani, Gartner Inc.’s research director for virtualization and cloud infrastructure, was quoted as saying.

“What people call private cloud is a vast array of things,” Lakhani says. “I’ve see private cloud refer to everything from, ‘We have a data center’ to ‘We’ve built something that looks a lot like Amazon [Web Services].’”

Meanwhile, demand for public cloud is surging, as evidenced by industry leader Amazon Web Services (AWS), whose 2012 revenue was estimated at $2 billion; that figure projected to double this year. That growth isn’t limited to AWS. The top 10 cloud providers grew by 37 percent in 2012, according to a recent report by financial services firm Robert W. Baird and Co. Inc.

At the same time, early adopters say that their private cloud efforts have been worth the time and money. And IT executives just laugh when public cloud vendors like AWS CTO Werner Vogels deride private clouds as “false clouds” that are designed to get enterprises to buy more hardware, writes Barret.

While it may not have set the world on fire, “private cloud is here to stay,” says Scott Blanchette, CIO at Vanguard Health Systems, U.S.

IT shops that have implemented private cloud software wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Business owners have gone from going to the data center to see the flashing lights to consuming Infrastructure as a Service,” says Neil Smith, virtualization architect at a U.K.-based hedge fund that was an early user of VMware vCloud Automation Center (VCAC), derived from VMware’s 2012 acquisition of DynamicOps.