How does private cloud stack up versus public cloud?

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wpid-thumbnail-0b73dd5bc5a52713f8bb3f1d09e8aa57-500x300A few years ago, debates raged between supporters of public and private cloud. Public cloud fans pointed to its elasticity, pay-per-use models and deployment speed, and declared that theirs was the only sensible option. Private cloud advocates highlighted their side’s management visibility, privacy, security, and control, declaring that public should be relegated to dev/test environments.

As with most doctrinal debates, both sides overlooked the other’s positive attributes while pushing their respective agendas.

The answer, of course, isn’t only public or private, but in their integration to form hybrid cloud. This has been IBM’s story for two years, and today we examine one side of the hybrid equation: private cloud.

Private cloud provides dedicated infrastructure and controls not possible with public, ensuring resource isolation for security and performance. The cloud is provisioned for a single organization’s exclusive use, and can then be subdivided between business units.

Two private cloud flavors exist:  in your data center (or that of your chosen partner), and in the cloud service provider’s data center. On-premises private cloud offers virtualization, allowing better returns on infrastructure investment, while off-premises private cloud allows you to extend dedicated resources with the same control and guaranteed performance expected in your data center.

Regardless of type, private cloud is growing, as analysts expect between 14-22 percent CAGR through 2018, according to ReportsnReports.com.

Why private cloud?

Virtually every organization has a unique use case for private cloud.  Here are a few ways that customers are finding value:

  • A large gaming company wanted on-demand environments for their developers with easy integration into existing facilities, services instead of hardware purchases, and environmental control. The company tapped into a private cloud connected to customer facilities, giving developers the needed environments while satisfying administrators’ requirement for control and visibility.
  • A financial services firm wanted a retail payment fraud prevention production environment.  Because of workload sensitivity, the firm didn’t consider public cloud an option. Its IT leaders wanted environmental control and security, bare metal database servers for performance, advanced storage features, and reliable, consistent pricing. IBM created three interconnected private clouds—two in North America and one in Europe—providing the environments they needed, close to their operations and customers.
  • In another case, a healthcare provider needed assistance in transitioning from managed hosting to private cloud. It needed a self-service catalog and made the familiar call for control, security, and data isolation. IBM provided two U.S.-based private clouds, comprising a hybrid, with the bare metal performance that the healthcare provider needed.

What do companies want from private cloud?

Are all private clouds created equal? Despite misconceptions, cloud is not simply about fungible infrastructure.  Rather, both enterprises and SMBs have explained the capabilities needed from private cloud.

Because one size doesn’t fit all, we’re frequently asked for global capabilities with tiered service level agreements  Why global? As business grows, your cloud should be close to your employees and close to your customers. And tiered service level agreements (SLAs) mean that you have production-ready service levels when business demands it, and the option to relax those SLAs for dev/test environments.

Customers also need scalable, managed on-premises cloud. Scalability is necessary because solutions should grow seamlessly as business needs expand. The need for managed clouds is an increasingly common refrain  As customers embrace open standard-based technologies such as OpenStack, they want the advantages without managing the underlying components.

On this note, customers often seek assistance with professional and managed services  Professional services provide expertise to design, deployment, and planning for business value as private clouds are created. Managed services allow customers to pick and choose according to operational needs, from the discipline of ITIL-compliance to the agility of DevOps.

Finally, customers want turnkey delivery with self-service catalogs. Cloud’s early days were marked by one-off deployments and always-unique designs. Now, with modular approaches allowing choice of options, technologies, and services, cloud design and deployment is streamlined.

Tying it all up

After years of speculation, the cloud picture is coming into focus. The future belongs to those who provide integrated IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS to meet customers’ needs.

IBM is the only provider delivering across the spectrum of cloud options.  We pull these environments together in ways that others can’t, and we help clients bridge integration gaps.  Private cloud is an integral part of the equation, and IBM is your partner for hybrid transformation.

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