The blurring line between public and private cloud

Right after the internet became popular, organizations had their reasons to want private versions of it. Remember the intranet? Looks like the internet, but totally controlled by the company. It is a bit like kindergarten: you can play, but you can’t get out over the fence.

The same thing happens with cloud computing. Companies want ‘safe’ private versions of it. A private cloud is “operated solely for an organization. It may be managed by the organization or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.” according to the NIST definition of private cloud.

Now you might think that a private cloud is not a cloud. Look at the definition of cloud computing: it is supposed to run on shared resources, pay as you go, and self-service set up. A strict company owned private cloud is none of these.  Well, maybe after you have set it all up, getting a new virtual machine might be self-service to some users of this private cloud. But such an infrastructure sits on your balance sheet so you won’t have any of the financial flexibility of public cloud computing.

So, we have public clouds on one end, and private clouds on the other end. True? Not so fast.

The line between public and private cloud is blurring with new products and services out there. VMware, for example, collaborates with service providers to create an ecosystem where workloads can be started on virtual machines in a range of clouds. You could, presumably, run a workload on these products in your own physical datacenter, and move these to a specific private cloud provider who promises you a specific geographic location and hardware dedicated for you, or move them to totally shared infrastructure that probably is a lot more flexible. And you can do this without changing anything in your virtual servers.

As always, cloud computing is about business benefits. This will give the cloud consumer a wide range of options in striking a good balance between compliance and flexibility requirements.

This again shows that for reaping the benefits of cloud computing, a good understanding of the basic concepts is required. If not, you will be cloudwashed by your provider.

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