As more service providers enter the cloud industry, there is stronger division between the companies that favor public clouds and the ones that prefer private clouds. While progressive-thinking companies are choosing more and more public clouds, there is still a large group of companies that prefer to stick with private clouds because they are not ready to keep their data outside of their own systems. Companies have VPN services that rival the cloud and allow more secure data exchange. In this article, we will discuss the state of the art of the cloud industry from both the service provider and user standpoints, in order to determine the suitable strategy for companies in the cloud industry.
Fighting Words from Private Cloud
In a May 2011 blog post, Jurassic Park was a Private Cloud, Salesforce.com’s Peter Coffee compares private clouds to preserves where legacy IT dinosaurs can be protected from a changing world. Furthermore, he warns that private clouds have overwhelming complexity and teetering instability. Why should you listen to Coffee? Because he has over 2 decades of experience in the IT industry as a developer, consultant and author. He was for 18 years the Technology Editor of eWeek, before becoming the VP/ Head of Platform Research at Salesforce.com on January 2007.
While Peter may be a bit biased by his current employer, he is not the only one criticizing the private cloud. Among other critics are EuroCloud VP Phil Wainewright and Australian tech journalists Brett Winterford and Justin Warren.
The Buyer’s Perspective
While service providers of public cloud platforms may be announcing the imminent death of the private cloud, a recent survey of IT managers might bring a clearer perspective of the current status of the industry. Quest Software sponsored a study for Norwich University to interview close to 500 IT managers and found out that 87% of them are hesitant to host their data in a public cloud. While this survey is far from a definite consensus across all industries, it does provide a clear indication that there is a market for both private and public clouds.
Takeaways for the Cloud Industry
Given the demand for both private and public clouds, companies in the cloud industry will be smart to provide not only these 2 options but also hybrids between them. A great example of a company that is doing this is contract management software leader, Contract Logix. While Contract Logix offers its robust contract management solution as Software-as-a-Service, the company also offers configured solutions to be installed within a company’s private IT environment and infrastructure. These options from Contract Logix allow companies to manage their contract processes from Virtual Private Networks (VPN) or the Internet.
The benefit of Contract Logix’s strategy is confirmed high-profile IT users such as ING, Kaiser Permanente and Illuminata. During the April 2011 IBM Cloud Forum in San Francisco, California, these 3 organizations revealed that they have highly benefited from a mix of public and private clouds within their IT infrastructures. Therefore, service providers of the cloud industry should be flexible enough to provide solutions in both private and public clouds.