The private cloud is now a peripheral to the public cloud

The trend is providing a “Mini Me” version of a proprietary public cloud provider as a connected private cloud—essentially a public-cloud peripheral

Know this new trend: the private cloud as a peripheral to the public cloud
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No matter if you’re looking at Microsoft’s Azure Stack, Amazon Web Services’s Outpost, or Google's Kubernetes Engine (GKE) on premises, that emerging pattern is the same: placing an on-premises version of a pubic cloud’s cloud services that runs on hardware in the data center that you can see and touch.

In other words, the private cloud is becoming a public-cloud peripheral more than a traditional decoupled private cloud.

These new “public cloud peripherals” (PCPs) will probably have a few characteristics in common, including:

  • Although there’s not much experience with PCPs, you can probably count on them PCPs being tightly coupled to their public-cloud mother ship. They will pay the role of a public cloud service analog that’s running in the data center, for those processes, services, and data that you don’t want outside of your data center just yet. This means that, like a printer that’s not connected to a computer, it will have limited use as a standalone server.
  • PCPs will probably not tightly integrate with existing on premises systems. Don’t believe that just because you can see and touch the PCP in the same data center that it will be easy to have that thing talk with your other critical systems. But, that’s a good thing: The idea is to get you to communicate with the public cloud provider as much as you can, and have those processes and middleware communicate with the PCP on your behalf. This should matter very little to you, because the core problem is being solved. An analogy: You just have to fly to Chicago to get from New York to New Jersey, but you still get to New Jersey.
  • PCPs will probably be a devops focus. This means that the on-premises systems will be deeply integrated with on-premises and cloud devops tools and tool chains. This perhaps is a selling point of the PCP, because developers and operators will have access to services on the same secure and low-latency enterprise network.

Keep in mind that while there is much experience with existing private cloud, such as OpenStack-based clouds, we’ve yet to tear the clear plastic off of these new arrivals. That said, they are likely to be very different in terms of what they do and what purpose they serve. The PCP concept will provide options, and if they provide useful options, they likely will be a winner for the public cloud providers.