The benefits of implementing private cloud technology in very large enterprises are undeniable. IT departments in many large enterprises constantly struggle to stay ahead of the needs of the business units they serve. Failure to do so often results in business units with their own IT capabilities "going rogue" and buying their own server and storage equipment.
This inevitably results in capital and operational inefficiencies, along with a potentially dangerous decentralization of data management and protection strategies. By reforming themselves into a cloud service provider to those same business units, these IT organizations can stay ahead of the curve and provide their users with on-demand services. This puts IT in a much better position to make decisions on how to leverage the public cloud -- perhaps even transparently as hybrid cloud technology matures -- rather than having individual business units come to their own conclusions ad hoc.
In smaller enterprises, the benefits of constructing a private cloud are not so clear. Instead of large, IT-savvy business units, IT departments in smaller enterprises may be the only consumers of their own services. The justification for implementing a private cloud infrastructure melts away. And the self-service and internal security would be unlikely to provide any benefit that a properly constructed virtualization infrastructure wouldn't impart on its own. Instead of accelerating solution delivery, private cloud management could easily be just one more layer of complexity for IT to manage and monitor -- not exactly a step forward.
As time goes on, I think this distinction between large and small enterprises will start to fade. Just as the earliest adopters of large-scale server virtualization in the early part of the last decade were major enterprises, the earliest adopters of private cloud technology today will be those same massive corporations. Today, it's not at all uncommon to see the smallest enterprises using much more mature versions of that same virtualization technology for three or four servers that early adopters leveraged for thousands.
The same trickle-down scenario will play itself out as it relates to private cloud management solutions. As those solutions mature, they will work their way into the fabric of virtualization and storage solutions and eventually become the de-facto way of doing IT. If you don't see the value of building a private cloud right now, don't worry -- whether or not you go to it, it will inevitably come to you.
This article, "Finding a home for the private cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Matt Prigge's Information Overload blog and follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com.