Gartner flip-flop: Try the public cloud first

Gartner and I finally agree -- now maybe IT will come to grips with the public cloud

I'm pretty vocal when analyst organizations provide hyped-up advice, replete with grandiose claims around the movement to some technology. The advice is both hard to follow by enterprises and many times just plain wrong -- which is why I usually loudly criticize it.

However, we still live in a world where analyst reports drive much of IT policy, so I spend a bunch of my time explaining what the information actually means for a specific enterprise or problem domain. Many times, I disagree and push back on that advice for the good of the user. Of course, there are many instances where people don't concur about my opinion. The fight continues to this day.

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However, when the analysts get it right, I loudly point that out as well. This time the "right call" was the assertion from Gartner's Daryl Plummer that "enterprises should consider public cloud services first and turn to private clouds only if the public cloud fails to meet their needs." He delivered this advice during Gartner's recent IT Symposium.

At the core of this advice was the fact you should first consider your requirements and the objectives for using cloud computing before you move existing systems to the clouds or create new systems. Don't jump right to private clouds just because they solve the problem that IT has with letting go; instead, look to the value of public cloud computing first. If it's not a fit, then go private. But in all cases, let the business requirements drive you, not the hype.

Although this is advice I've been providing for years, it's obviously a good thing that Gartner now says the same thing. (It didn't always share this opinion.) Too many enterprises jump right to private clouds and don't consider the use of public clouds, typically labeling them as too insecure and not controllable.

However, the primary value of the cloud comes from the use of public clouds, mainly because you don't have to purchase and maintain your own hardware and software. But this does require that you trust somebody else to deal with your infrastructure, applications, and development requirements. It might also mean you shut down a data center or two and reduce the size of your kingdom. Many in IT seem to have a real problem with doing that; when asked to move to the cloud, they choose the private option each and every time.

Perhaps now that Gartner says the public cloud should be your first option, maybe IT will finally listen.

This article, "Gartner flip-flop: Try the public cloud first," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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