Should enterprises go with a completely private cloud approach?

December 20, 2012 by Diana Nolting

We hear a lot of great questions when we talk to people about cloud and rarely are two questions worded exactly the same way, giving us a new way of looking at similar problems with every new question.  We recently received a great customer question that covered several topic areas that are very common. 

This was this individual’s question about Infrastructure-as-a-Service and cloud:

“Can enterprises go with a completely private cloud [approach]?  Or, is it better to have some portion of public cloud [as part of your strategy] for DR, etc…?”

There are a lot of questions within this question. Rather than cover all the facets of the question in one long post, we’ve broken down Bluelock Solutions Architect Jake Robinson’s response into a three-part blog series to answer this question.

The first topic will cover private cloud and common misconceptions.  The second part, will cover how public cloud is used to add value to your private or hybrid cloud strategy and the third post will cover DR in the cloud.   Follow the blog each week for the latest installment.

Part 1: Let’s talk private cloud…

"All of IT and technical expenses in a traditional model… are self-contained."
©V. J. Matthew/123RF.COM


When looking at the question, the first question Bluelock Solutions Architect Jake Robinson would follow up with is… "What infrastructure set-up are your currently using?"   

Before answering the question of adding public cloud into an existing private cloud approach, Robinson first addresses the premise of private cloud and what it means to an organization, because if your organization hasn't set up a private cloud yet, there might be more to think about than just all private, or hybrid. 

“Private cloud is much more than just installing cloud enabled hardware and a cloud management platform. It’s requires a cultural change and an operational change,” Robinson explained.

Robinson went on to explain that if you’re used to traditional IT your organization might not be positioned operationally for private cloud yet, especially if that organization is expecting to just add a bit of software to the existing set-up.

“There is no magical software you can add on top of your infrastructure to instantly have a private cloud,” Robinson explains.  “Success of private cloud has a lot to do with changing the culture.”

Robinson detailed that a company who moves to the cloud should want its IT department to become a more service-oriented division where it can begin to treat its business units as customers.

“All of the IT and technical expenses in a traditional model belong to IT,” he explains. “They are self-contained expenses. With ‘the new IT’ or IT-as-a-Service, when an organization goes to cloud, IT infrastructure expenses are more easily distributed throughout the business and it places more responsibility and control in the hands of the application owners. IT simply enables the distribution of resources, but can put controls in place and offer guidance to ensure operational efficiency and protocol.”

Therefore, for some organizations, private cloud may be the best way to enable quick access to resources for its business units. But for it to be a true private cloud with cloud-like benefits, it requires self-service access to the resources and the ability (for users and IT admins) to very quickly deploy new environments upon request. It's also important that some form of usage plus cost tracking is in place to be able to accurately "charge back" the IT costs to the appropriate business units. This can be daunting for some companies, but when done well, sets an organization up for real success, especially when public cloud is added to the strategy.

Many mid-size and large enterprises have found that building a private cloud can take a long time, and that by using a public cloud that is compatible with the future private cloud during the building phase, they are able to access the benefits of cloud, get used to the technology and self-service and keep the business satisfied all at the same time. They are also able to begin understanding which workloads or applications are best staying in the public cloud for the long run.

There are a number of benefits to private, and public cloud, that we'll address in the later blog, but before jumping in the organization should understand the full scope of the difference between traditional and "new" IT. 

Part 2: Should I use Public Cloud in Addition to Private Cloud? 

Part 3: Should I use Public Cloud for DR?