Industry Trends and Perspectives: Public and Private IT Clouds

May 26, 2010 – 9:53 pm

This is part of an ongoing series of short industry trends and perspectives blog posts briefs.

These short posts compliment other longer posts along with traditional industry trends and perspective white papers, research reports, solution brief content found at

Are you clear on cloud conversation issues, topics and trends? Or, are you confused and looking for clarification of what is (or not) a public vs. private cloud? If you are part of the second group, welcome to the majority of IT professionals that includes customers as well as some VARs and vendors not to mention press, media or bloggers as well as analysts and other industry pundits.

A couple of customer trends that Im seeing are that public clouds in terms of backup as a service (BaaS), Backup Service Provider (BSP), Managed Service Provider (MSP), Cloud Backup Service (CBS) or hosted backup among other terms or acronyms continues to be popular for smaller consumer, SOHO and SMB as well as ROBO environments with some larger scale adoption. Likewise there continues to be some early adoption of cloud archive however this is mainly as a storage target or medium where data goes.

Some vendors or VARs are touting cloud archive as the silver bullet for cloud adoption however unless they can address the fundamental archive challenge all they are doing is competing on price to shift the location of where data gets parked. The real archive challenge is not necessarily the hardware where data is housed or its subsequent management, nor is the real cost or barrier archiving software for databases, email or file systems.

The real or more common barrier is that of someone identifying and approving not to mention indemnifying those involved of what can be moved when, where as well as for how long. This means that professional services and business buy in for establishment of policies along with tools for classifying applications and data are needed. Thus before automated movement and migration tools to leverage various tiers of local and remote including cloud archive storage can be used, the fundamental barriers to archive need to be addressed.

Im also seeing continued skepticism in addition to confusion around clouds in general, however there is also curiosity wanting to know or learn more about clouds and traditional IT coexisting. Consequently Im seeing while still low, more interest in private clouds by IT professionals as it is closer to their real world.

The common theme around interest in private clouds is that of enhancing IT efficient and effectiveness along with service delivery. Thus there is a growing interest in identifying costs of providing a given level of service that meets various RTO, RPO, QoS and other SLA objectives.

Likewise, Im seeing more interest around public clouds by vendors, investors or some business where the focus is more around near term monetization or addressing an opportunity when seen. Public clouds tend to be more fun for the industry to talk about or speculate upon compared to legacy boring IT (at least in the minds of those outside of core IT).

There are many different types as well as definition of clouds based on various products, initiatives and viewpoints. By their nature and how clouds have been used as a metaphor or symbol for abstracting complex items in IT for decades. Consequently, similar to virtualization which also has multiple meanings it should be no surprise that there is cloud confusion. After all, in chaos and confusion there is opportunity for the industry at large to develop and provide services or products that need to be promoted and marketed which require coverage and discussion along with advice or consultation as well as implementation.

With all of the conversations around cloud as a metaphor for describing IT services, products and functions, that could beg the question of if these different approaches are a Stairway to Heaven, Hotel California (you can check in however never leave), Road to Hell or Highway to Hell or perhaps a journey to Yellow Brick Road.

My general thinking and perception of both public and private IT clouds continues to be that of dont be scared, however look before you leap. Look at how cloud IT are not a replacement, rather are a compliment to your existing environment as another tier of resource (server, storage, network, software or other service) used to address various needs or issues. Likewise is private cloud another name for in sourcing of IT?

Related and companion material:
Blog: Clouds are like Electricity: Dont be Scared
Blog: Poll: What Do You Think of IT Clouds?
Blog: Clouds and Data Loss: Time for CDP (Commonsense Data Protection)?
Blog: 2010 and 2011 Trends, Perspectives and Predictions: More of the same?

That is all for now, hope you find this ongoing series of current and emerging Industry Trends and Perspectives interesting.

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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