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Cloud Computing
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Should a Private Cloud Still Be Considered a Cloud?

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This question has caused some debate of late (see Linthicum's blog), so should a private cloud still be considered a cloud?

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  • YES...

    Cloud Computing is a way of working, a concept. It should not be confused with how it is implemented, this is something very different...

  • Absolutely.

    Let's not get hung up on names. The end game is to realize the benefits of the cloud business model. Yes, some options might be better at realizing a subset of benefits (such as cost reduction) than others but not all options are suitable for all business requirements. Regulations, privacy standards, and security requirements might preclude the "public" option is some cases. Shoud those entities forego the cloud benefits because of a "naming issue"? Instead of names, let's focus on the real issues of a cloud - security, portability, interoperability, privacy, and trust.

  • NO.

    Since "Private Clouds" don't leverage the economic properties of public or even hybrid cloud systems, it's simply an appropriation of the concept by vendors and IT departments. Such usage merely obfuscates the economic value of the Cloud.

    Sure, it's possible to also say that monopoly money should be considered a kind of money. In fact, it *is* a kind of money--but not one that has any substantial economic significance.

    The public cloud provides a commodity consumption pattern for hardware, software and platforms that alters the cost model for technology adoption. This economic impact is not the driver for "private cloud".

  • Are we going to start calling large private networks 'private Internets'? No, there's only one Internet, and there's only one Cloud...whereas the Internet is the public network that provides the transport and delivery mechanism for services, the Cloud represents the public services that are delivered over the Internet, albeit traversing the stack from raw infrastructure services to multitenant application services.

  • Tarak, let's not get hung up on names? I'll just call you Dabble then, after all names don't matter right?

    There is a difference between Cloud Computing and a Cloud. Cloud Computing is a representative body of technology used to build agile compute platforms to meet the needs of rapidly expanding growth and leveraging existing compute resources.

    The Cloud is and always be the moniker to represent the group of interconnected nodes that form the public internet.

    Make no bones about it, this distinction is critical to ensure we don't end up calling everything Cloud, which is happening and why we need to qualify Cloud with terms like Private and Public.

    • Dabble... hmmmm... I like it :)

      I've edited your last sentence. See if you agree?

      Make no bones about it, this distinction is critical to ensure we don't end up calling everything "Human", which is happening and why we need to qualify "Human" with terms like "Man" and "Woman".

      End result: A public cloud is a cloud. A private cloud is a cloud. By the way, the question is not "What is THE Cloud?". It is "Should a Private Cloud Still Be Considered a Cloud?"

      And, once again, my answer is YES.

  • Dabble, LOL JP you kill me...

  • Absolutely not, "private cloud" is a misnomer cleverly devised by the very companies that cloud computing is set to displace. Cloud is all about making IT someone else's problem so as users can get on with their business. Companies no longer have to be computer experts in the same way they don't have to be proficient at generating electricity, treating water and refining gas just to make their widgets. Above all else, if it requires non-negligible capital expenditure, it's not cloud.

  • Scoring against the insightful James Governor's post on 15 ways to tell it's not cloud

    http://www.redmonk.com/jgovernor/2008/03/13/15-ways-to-tell-its-not-cloud-computing/

    Here are the ways, annotated with PASS/FAIL for "private clouds" PASS/FAIL means some pass some fail.

    You could argue these on a point by point basis but the general gist is that the monopoly money analogy holds. Steve "Java" Jones pointed out that sufficiently large private clouds such as federal governments begin to approximate the public cloud infrastructure in some ways, to which I say yes... if you have a large enough game of monopoly where you can use the monopoly money to buy real houses and hotels, then you're pretty well back in the world of real money.

    If you peel back the label and its says “Grid� or “OGSA� underneath… its not a cloud. PASS

    If you need to send a 40 page requirements document to the vendor then… it is not cloud. FAIL

    If you can’t buy it on your personal credit card… it is not a cloud FAIL

    If they are trying to sell you hardware… its not a cloud. FAIL

    If there is no API… its not a cloud. PASS/FAIL

    If you need to rearchitect your systems for it… Its not a cloud. PASS/FAIL

    If it takes more than ten minutes to provision… its not a cloud. PASS

    If you can’t deprovision in less than ten minutes… its not a cloud. PASS

    If you know where the machines are… its not a cloud. PASS/FAIL

    If there is a consultant in the room… its not a cloud. FAIL

    If you need to specify the number of machines you want upfront… its not a cloud. FAIL

    If it only runs one operating system… its not a cloud. PASS

    If you can’t connect to it from your own machine… its not a cloud. FAIL

    If you need to install software to use it… its not a cloud. PASS

    If you own all the hardware… its not a cloud. FAIL

    If it takes 20 slides to explain…. its not a cloud FAIL

  • I do not think that Cloud is about semantics, but rather about practice and reality within a concept. As I have written before, my personal experience shows that Enterprises are indeed implementing “Cloud Architectureâ€? solutions which are substituting fat Client-Server implementations, but mostly using the traditional business model (perpetual ownership and in-house or hosted location) – when it concerns core and customized solutions. Cloud based infrastructure and applications delivered as a service and on-demand are indeed still limited to “commodity solutionsâ€? – collaboration, CRM, etc…

    I describe a couple of cases in The Extended Enterprise – from vision to reality with Rich Internet Application technology, and I find a consensus with many industry analysts that these types of implementations are well part of what they observe as Cloud implementations. I do not care much about how it is named, and if people prefer to reserve “Cloud� for a more restrictive checklisted definition that’s fine with me – but what I describe above is a very tangible reality of an application architecture that leverages internet based technologies - hosting resources, communications and clients.

  • Where does a "private" cloud end and "public" one begin? The line is getting very blurry. Great examples from Avigdor. Does a company extending services to trading partners and customers online still have a private cloud? If you are using Amazon for your own internal ops and apps, is this still a public cloud?

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    There are many interesting views, however it appears that most of them live in the now, not the future. While this is usually a good thing, I wonder in this case if it still is. Consider that Enterprises are attempting to emulate the benefits of the work that the Public Cloud Providers have achieved with their Architectures. If a large Enterprise has 5 PRIVATE datacenters that operate on a Cloud Architecture and END Business Users don't know which specific datacenter has their application instance running, nor do they necessarily know what platform and/or OS it is operating on, wouldn't that make it a Private Cloud?
    I disagree with the requirement of needing to buy it with a Personal Credit Card as a criteria for Cloud, this seems highly myopic. What if Amazon partners with ATT and I can pay for services consumed on my phone bill, is that still considered ok? In the Enterprise, wouldn't it make sense that if a user can choose to request additional resources without a complex approval process, mean the same thing?
    I think the ultimate problem is that there is an impedance mismatch between Enterprise (Private) and Consumer (Public), we need equivalencies for comparisons, until that happens, we will all be left guessing.

  • Yes, private cloud could be considered as a cloud, if it is carved out of resources identical to that of a public cloud infrastructure. It will have characteristics like that of a public cloud in terms of scale, elasticity and will need to be managed in same way. For the consumers of private cloud, there is no perceivable difference nor is there any difference for providers on this cloud.

  • I prefer the analogy of Second Life money and not the Monopoly game money. In many cases it worth no real money, but sometimes you can get real world money for it.
    I know that Private Cloud is defined in many different ways, by different people. Semantics does not matter. What really matters is business value.I agree with Miko that usually the business value of Private Clouds is when the enterprise is very large.

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    Whether a cloud is public or private should essentially depend on where the servers are located. If the servers are on premise, then they should be considered private, otherwise they should be considered public. Beyond that, private clouds should provide the option for monthly payments of services, the simplification of the management of the servers (or the outsourcing of their management), etc. In short, private clouds should allow for most of the advantages of public clouds, with the bonus that you get to keep an eye on your data for - maybe slightly greater cost.

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