Microsoft released the first technical preview of its Azure Stack private cloud platform last week. This product will allow customers to incorporate features from the Azure public cloud with their own data centers.
Why would you want to do that? According to Blair Hanley Frank, “People who are at ease with Microsoft's public cloud tools will feel right at home with the Azure Stack management portal, which is essentially the same one they'll find in the public cloud.”
This will make Microsoft the only major public cloud provider to offer a private cloud and, thus, a hybrid cloud. Google and AWS don’t have private clouds, for good reason: Nobody wants them!
Back in 2013, private clouds had their day in the sun. Then we realized we’re migrating to public clouds for a few key benefits -- namely, to drastically reduce or eliminate hardware, software, and data center costs, and to spin up compute and storage resources as we need them.
While public clouds provide this instant-provisioning capability, private clouds still run on traditional "owned" hardware systems that you have to buy, install, and maintain. Again, I ask, what is the private cloud benefit?
Those who leverage private clouds do so because they believe, incorrectly, that their data is safer in their own data center. Ask Sony and Home Depot about that assumption. Alternatively, they believe the use of public clouds may be in violation of a law specific to their vertical. But a little research often reveals it’s typically not the case.
Private clouds are really about control. If you need to hug your servers each week, have at it. However, with the private cloud, you’ll give up most of the value of moving to the cloud. If you’re realistic about the ROI of public versus private cloud, you’ll understand that the private cloud is largely a losing proposition.
Not to pick on Microsoft -- there are many private cloud providers, mostly based on open standards. However, the problem is Microsoft did this after its public cloud business was off and running. Even if it’s a success for Microsoft, it won’t be a success for those who deploy it, considering the lack of value it will bring. In the end, I predict it will be a failure.