The 'is the private cloud a false cloud?' debate is false

The focus should be on which cloud formats can best serve businesses, not on whether private clouds count as 'real' clouds

I was at Interop in Las Vegas this week moderating a panel on the "false cloud debate." In short, the debate asks if private clouds are really clouds, or if "private cloud" is a marketing label for data centers and confusing the value of cloud computing. The panel consisted of James Waters from EMC VMware, James Urquhart from Cisco Systems, Peter Coffee from, and John Keagy from GoGrid.

What struck me most about the "debate" was that it was not much of one at all. Although the panel started off bickering around the use, or overuse, of private clouds, the panelists quickly agreed that the private clouds have a place in the enterprise (to very different degrees), and that the end game is mixing and matching private and public cloud resources to meet the requirements of the business.

[ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

Public cloud advocates have said for years that the core value of public clouds is the ability to scale and provision on demand and on the cheap -- they're right. However, many fail to accept there may be times when the architectural patterns of public clouds best serve the requirements of the business when implemented locally -- in a private cloud.

If you accept that the value of cloud computing is in some circumstances best expressed in a private cloud, it should become apparent that the movement to the cloud should be prefaced by good architecture, requirements gathering, and planning. Those who view the adoption of cloud computing as simply a matter of private versus public are destined to not understand the core business issues, and they risk making costly mistakes.

Architecture has to lead the day, and sane minds need to focus on the ability of clouds to serve the business: private, public, hybrid, or none. There is no debate about that. 

This article, "The 'is the private cloud a false cloud?' debate is false," 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 © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

How to choose a low-code development platform