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To Private Cloud or Not to Private Cloud? By @ShelleyMPerry | @CloudExpo #Cloud
Each enterprise continues to mature its cloud strategy and rethink the earlier role of cloud
By: Shelley Perry
Mar. 30, 2016 03:00 PM
Private, public or hybrid cloud? This is the question that is being asked by C-level executives and IT professionals across the globe, as each enterprise continues to mature its cloud strategy and rethink the earlier role of cloud and whether to move away from an all public or private environment and embrace a hybrid cloud strategy.
Benefits of a private cloud in a hybrid strategy
Private cloud is adopted by those enterprises' that have a high security and compliance requirement - either business or technical - for specific applications and services that are considered to be highly regulated. Additionally, enterprises turn to private clouds when its most valuable information and corresponding applications need to have a private cloud located in proximity to other enterprise resources due to latency issues. These applications can include mission critical, customer facing applications such as a mobile banking backend solution, Enterprise Resource Applications (ERP), financial applications and highly regulated/ governmental applications and data. The industries adopting private clouds are those that deal with highly sensitive and restricted data comprising of financial institutions, retail/payment associations, healthcare, education, insurance and government agencies.
To truly maximize the benefits of a hybrid cloud strategy, there are ways to balance the economic impacts of private cloud. For those enterprises that want to lessen the financial impact of a private cloud, they may dive further into the application design and architect a solution that includes only running certain transaction types for the data being processed and stored in a private cloud. For instance, a customer's personal data such as credit card processing, product and catalog selection may be best kept in a private cloud before adding to a customer order in a public cloud where the rest of the application is run in a shared resource pool.
Beyond security, the other benefit of the private cloud is the reduction in latency that will accommodate application connections that require a high degree of integration running in a particular location. Each enterprise will have to balance the economic impact of private cloud resources against other options including application modernization, migration to a new platform or traditional IT infrastructure.
How to deliver the private cloud service
An enterprise that makes a decision to build and support its private cloud will need to retain in-house talent and capital investments for expansion, product updates and the addition of innovations to meet with user demands. Most important, IT teams will need an individual who has a dedicated focus on security requirements and regulations. The security aspects are critical, as the reason an enterprise typically selects a private cloud is often based on the security requirements for the applications and data that require additional protection. The requisite investment is substantial, especially at scale, and will be in addition to the investments needed to develop, operate and innovate the cloud services and applications. It is a consideration that should be weighed against the goals of the enterprise. Today, one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption is the ability to both attract and retain qualified staff, second only to security. The staffing risk is increased as an enterprise will need to operate both the cloud maintenance team, as well as the group to build and manage the applications that will run in that cloud.
Considerations for managed private clouds
A managed private cloud is a ‘rental' option. The managed cloud provider will build, operate maintain and continue to innovate a private cloud for the enterprise in a range of dedicated options, whether on-premise or in a selected cloud data center. A managed private cloud provider takes on the risk of capital expense, staffing, upgrades and continued innovation and can either provide additional services to operate applications or the enterprise can opt to do the later in-house. Many enterprises select the managed private cloud option to obtain the benefits of a private cloud and to free up internal technical staff to innovate specific business applications and services that propel the products and services it offers its customers. Managed private clouds are offered in a range of commercial constructions including fixed monthly fees for a reserved size, minimum commitments with consumption for growth to fully consumptive. The commercial models typically require a higher rate for a greater level of dedication; i.e. the less shared resource pools, the higher the price.
It is important for the enterprise to conduct an analysis of the most important features they are looking for in a managed private cloud. As the market evolves, the managed cloud providers are offering ‘niche' private cloud options that are optimized for specific applications and vertical industries.
A sample of the list of considerations includes:
Using the evaluation criteria and clearly stating the objectives the enterprise is trying to achieve using a private cloud will make the decision/selection process of which private cloud is best suited for the intended outcome.
Once IT leaders have selected the private cloud, it is critical to ensure that the applications that reside in the private cloud are designed and implemented in such a way that supports some level of abstraction to more easily migrate applications and workloads in the future. Each enterprise must map out its strategy for building, deploying and operating applications in the cloud with an understanding of risk and migration options should the business objectives and relationships change. Every public and managed cloud provider is going to continue to innovate in different areas. It will be important to incorporate a health check and evaluation of the services to ensure the cloud is meeting the needs of the business. While migration introduces risk, carefully designed and implemented development/operations help to minimize risk and disruption while ensuring the enterprise maximizes the benefit of ‘adopting the best of both worlds.'
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