I had a conversation with a person that knew everything. Well he thought he did. He told me what cloud was to be.clip_image002 He quickly dismissed all ideas because they were different. He knew what hybrid cloud was and he had built that solution. I told him I thought there was no such thing as private cloud. He continued to argue.

The market already has an idea as well. There are software packages and solutions that are expanding at a growing rate. Mix into that the hybrid versus public versus private cloud argument and well you get the picture. Things are as clear as mud.

First off, I’ve argued in the past that there really isn’t a private cloud out there. Everyone calls on premise automation private cloud but reality is that it isn’t. The interesting Azure pack solution from Microsoft does attempt to move around the overall concept of private/public/community clouds.

It still bothers me. A private cloud is simply taking your data center and automating it. You buy 100% of what you need at the maximum compute moment your organization has. If you don’t then you end up limping during periods of high demand. You automate systems and solutions so as to seem cloud like. But you don’t in the end always have cloud applications.

clip_image004The concept here being you assess, then modify and then finally you operate your solution in the cloud. The three most critical pieces I’ve found today have to do with consolidation, modification and start over. Once you are in the cloud you really need to start the process over. Why? Because even though you have optimized the current functionality for the cloud there are always new ways of doing things.

Private cloud solutions don’t really enable the last two steps. They certainly allow you to complete the first step and that is where the problem exists. You see without following the directions the IT conditioner won’t work (apply, rinse, repeat). Hybrid on the other end mean something else as well. They are a phrase that I believe is being highly misused.

clip_image006Hybrid cloud to me means that I have more than one cloud solution. If we fast forward five or ten years I suspect that all cloud solutions will have an on premise staging area like the Azure pack concept. Added to that the broader concept of application containers for moving in and out of various cloud (portability). I believe hybrid cloud is really about security. Where you have security, what security you implement and what you restrict the most. When you consider the concept of moving applications from on premise to cloud there are a number of solutions that do that. If you containerize your on premise applications the move becomes easier. The argument then becomes what security should we apply.

As people rush to hybrid solutions they are rushing right past the best answer to that problem. Cloud brokers fix a lot of the holes in what hybrid cloud represents. From the concept I posted two days about, The Broker Market© where the broker is able to not only aggregate cloud services but is also able to reliably build a market that all members of the broker can take advantage of.

Hybrid cloud becomes easier with a broker. I am still not in the end convinced that private clouds are real. If, your intent is to automate then embark on an automation project. Analysts defined organizational IT solution maturity from basic to dynamic based on the ability to automate and thus respond to change. Private clouds represent dynamic organizations. I would argue however, that a private cloud is actually the 4th step in a 5 step maturity process. Once you automate then it becomes where do you host your workloads. Public or Community clouds become the question. Perhaps in five years no one will even talk about private clouds.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.