Private cloud-public cloud schism is a meaningless distraction

Naysayers need to understand that private clouds have a place in the enterprise, so get over it

I've heard it all about private clouds over the last few years. "Private clouds are not true clouds," say the public cloud computing purists. "Private clouds are the best way to move toward cloud computing," say those who typically sell older technology in need of a quick cloud rebranding to become relevant.

The focus needs to be on the architecture and the right-fitting enabling technology, including both private and public cloud technology, and not gratuitous opinions. There should be no limits on the technology solution patterns you can apply. If that means private, public, or a mix of both, that's fine as long as you do your requirements homework and can validate that you have chosen the right solution.

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All -- and I mean all -- public cloud computing providers have some private cloud offering. No matter if it's a loosely coupled partnership with a private cloud provider or a private cloud computing version of its public cloud offering that it sells as -- gulp -- software. Many of these providers were dragged into the world of the private cloud kicking and screaming, but realized they needed to provide a solution that the market -- that is, their customers -- demands.

The downside is that those who put together cloud computing requirements and define cloud computing solutions in enterprises have a tendency to jump to private clouds when public clouds are a much better fit. This is the "I want to hug my server" aspect that keeps getting in the way of progress.

The hard truth is that private clouds are often too expensive and add complexity. They increase -- not reduce -- the amount of hardware and software you maintain, and they can become new information silos that make things more -- not less -- complex. In many instances, they reduce the value of cloud computing and raise the risks.

However, there are times when you need the advantage of cloud-based computing, such as auto-provisioning of resources, and you have a requirement to keep the processes and data in house. Private clouds work just fine for those requirements, as long as you focus on fit, function, and the value to the business, and not on some dumb argument that has gone on for too long.

This article, "Private cloud-public cloud schism is a meaningless distraction," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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