Private Cloud in Context

What’s it for and where does it fit?


Published/updated: May 2012

By Dale Vile

Key Points

The concept of private cloud is easy to understand and appreciate when properly explained
When 570 participants in a recent online survey were asked how much they understood the private cloud concept, most were already comfortable with it, and the remainder generally ‘got it’ after being given a clear definition. To IT professionals, the private cloud discussion is natural and comfortable.

Private cloud is more an extension of virtualisation and management than public cloud
Activity in the area of x86 virtualisation has opened minds to a more flexible approach to workload management. Private cloud builds on this through the addition of advanced platform software and management tools. These assist or automate the workload provisioning and de-provisioning process, help to orchestrate execution of workloads in a more optimised manner, and generally provide a more standardised and robust operating environment. While such capability is acknowledged to be a natural progression from basic virtualisation activity, few regard it as having anything to do with what’s going on in the public cloud space.

Service delivery benefits are considered to be more important than cost reduction
While the potential to reduce cost and overhead through better resource management and the streamlining of operations is appreciated, benefits in terms of responsiveness to new and changing demands on IT are highlighted more frequently. Other aspects of service level enhancement to do with application resilience, disaster recovery, and better control over application performance monitoring and management, are also ranked highly in terms of benefits.

Application compatibility and licensing are seen as major considerations
While applications that have already been confirmed to be virtualisation friendly are likely to run fine in a private cloud environment, problems can occur with older and/or bespoke software that assumes direct access to resources. Larger applications that currently run on dedicated specialist clusters with hard wiring into proprietary runtime and management environments may also be questionable candidates for migration – at least until standards settle and vendors take steps to make their solutions private cloud compatible. In the meantime, testing and remediation are critical.

Private cloud is seen as a strategic play
In order of strategic importance, private cloud is ranked significantly above public cloud by IT professionals, though we anticipate all forms/combinations of delivery to play a role in the future.



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