Published/updated: June 2012
By Martha Bennett and Tony Lock
‘Cloud’ concepts are widely understood, but practical experience isn’t yet widespread
‘Cloud’ terminology continues to be the subject of debate, in particular the expression ‘private cloud’. When terms are explained, there is general acceptance of what defines both private cloud and the various types of public cloud models. In terms of actual experience with cloud services, the supply side (Hi Tech vendors and service providers) is a long way ahead of other organisations in acceptance of public cloud. The difference is less pronounced with private cloud.
Private cloud is a more natural fit for those preferring internally controlled service delivery
Most organisations outside of the Hi Tech / service provider community prefer, on balance, to keep IT in-house. Unlike public cloud services, private cloud is a comfortable fit with this preference, and many IT professionals see private cloud as a logical progression from other ways of modernising internally run and/or controlled IT infrastructure.
‘Hybrid cloud’ models are far from universally accepted
Supplementing internal capabilities with external services – on either a permanent or ad-hoc basis – is an attractive proposition for some IT shops wanting to keep service levels high but costs under control. In practice, the majority of organisations outside of the Hi Tech / service provider sector are reluctant to embrace the concept today. Looking to the future, however, there are few that don’t see a requirement for blending onsite components with hosted cloud services.
The need for processes as well as tools to support hybrid cloud is clearly recognised
Requirements here fall into two main categories: the business process and contractual aspects of a hybrid delivery model, and the technology tools to support it. Service level agreements are obviously critical, as are clear accountability and good coordination, supported by monitoring, management and self-service tools that span private and public cloud environments.
In future, hybrid delivery models will become more common
The requirement to improve the efficiency of IT delivery, together with a mandate to keep costs under control, holds the potential to encourage greater use of delivery models that blend internal and external sources. And as organisations move towards a more service-centric approach to IT delivery, the emphasis is likely to focus on the quality, cost and security of services rather than the precise nature of the infrastructure used to deliver them.
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