The selfish agendas behind private clouds

The real reason HP and IBM are pushing for private cloud computing: To protect their market share

The VMworld hangover has hit, and I found InfoWorld's own Matt Prigge offered the best coverage of VMworld when he pointed out that the theme this year: Run -- don't walk -- to the private cloud. Even InfoWorld editor in chief Eric Knorr, who's been critical of the concept in the past, has a new respect for private clouds, as he states in his blog: "Without question, the private cloud comes with a large dose of hogwash. Nonetheless, the model of providing commodity services on top of pooled, well-managed virtual resources has legs, because it has the potential to take a big chunk of cost and menial labor out of the IT equation."  

If you've been following this blog, you know I'm an avid proponent of private clouds in a company's architecture. Private clouds should always be considered if the goal is to reinvent existing IT infrastructure for better efficiency and security. That said, we need to stay grounded regarding the true value of private cloud computing, especially in light of emerging cloud enabling technology, some of which is real, some of which is just cloud washing. 

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Thus, you need to understand why the larger hardware and software names, including HP and IBM, are encouraging the move to private cloud computing. They sense a sea change coming in which public cloud computing providers are becoming realistic alternatives to internal IT. As a result, their goals is to cement their hold on data centers for as long as possible.

Take, for instance, HP CloudStart, a "private cloud in a box," as HP calls it. While indeed providing a quick and private alternative to the public cloud, HP CloudStart also allows HP to sell yet another bundle of hardware and software to enterprises considering a move to the cloud. In the process, HP protects its market share.

Another clear indication of this self-interest is the very public battle between HP and Dell over cloud storage provider 3Par. Both companies were hoping to grab up private cloud technology and make themselves more relevant in the cloud computing space, with another piece of private cloud computing technology to sell. You can count on seeing more of these battles throughout 2011. When you can't build or get technology to market quickly, you buy a company that can.

I'm not bursting any bubbles with the suggestion that larger software and hardware companies are pushing private clouds to make more money and protect their market share. Don't be swayed by these big names; instead, consider your IT needs independently and take a look at private, public, and hybrid cloud models as potential solutions. In the best-case scenario, you'll end up with a mix of cloud technologies that resemble your requirements, not what's popular or what the vendors are pushing.

This article, "The selfish agendas behind private clouds," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at

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