Home > Cloud Computing, Cloud Security > Private Clouds: Even A Blind Squirrel Finds A Nut Once In A While

Private Clouds: Even A Blind Squirrel Finds A Nut Once In A While

Over the last month it’s been gratifying to watch the “mainstream” IT press provide more substantive coverage on the emergence and acceptance of Private Clouds after the relatively dismissive stance prior.  

I think this has a lot to do with the stabilization of definitions and applications of Cloud Computing and it’s service variants as well as the realities of Cloud adoption in large enterprises and the timing it involves.

To me, Private Clouds represent the natural progression toward wider scale Cloud adoption for larger enterprises with sunk costs and investments in existing infrastructure and it has always meant more than simply “Amazon-izing your Intranet.”  Private Clouds offer larger enterprises a logical, sustainable and intelligent path forward from their virtualization and automation initiatives in play already.

I think my definition a few months ago was still a little rough, but it gets the noodle churning:

Private clouds are about extending the enterprise to leverage infrastructure that makes use of cloud computing capabilities and is not (only) about internally locating the resources used to provide service.  It’s also not an all-or-nothing proposition.

It occurs to me that private clouds make a ton of sense as an enabler to enterprises who want to take advantage of cloud computing for any of the oft-cited reasons, but are loathe to (or unable to) surrender their infrastructure and applications without sufficient control.  Private clouds mean that an enterprise can decide how and how much of the infrastructure can/should be maintained as a non-cloud operational concern versus how much can benefit from the cloud.

Private clouds make a ton of sense; they provide the economic benefits of outsourced scaleable infrastructure that does not require capital outlay, the needed control over that infrastructure combined with the ability to replicate existing topologies and platforms and ultimately the portability of applications and workflow.  These capabilities may eliminate the re-write and/or re-engineering of applications like is often required when moving to typical IaaS (infrastructure as a Service) player such as Amazon.

From a security perspective — which is very much my focus — private clouds provide me with a way of articulating and expressing the value of cloud computing while still enabling me to manage risk to an acceptable level as chartered by my mandate.

Here are some of the blog entries I’ve written on Private Clouds. I go into reasonable detail in my “Frogs Who Desired a King” Cloud Security presentation.  James Urquhart’s got some doozies, too.  Here’s a great one.  Chuck Hollis has been pretty vocal on the subject.

My Google Reader has no less than 10 articles on Private Clouds in the last day or so including an interesting one featuring GE’s initiative over the next three years.

I hope the dialog continues and we can continue to make headway in arriving at common language and set of use cases, but as I discovered a couple of weeks ago, in my post titled “The Vagaries Of Cloudcabulary: Why Public, Private, Internal & External Definitions Don’t Work…”, the definition of Private Cloud is the most variable of all and promotes the most contentious of debates:


Private Clouds seem to point to validate the proimise of what real time infrastructure/adapative enterprise visions painted many years ago, with the potential for even more scale and control.  The intersection of virtualization, automation, Cloud and converged and unified computing are making sure of that.


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  1. April 28th, 2009 at 12:43 | #1

    Hoff, even though the IT press has opened up to the notion of private clouds, is the mainstream resistance similar to what managed and hosted service providers have faced for the last couple of decades?

    Meaning, some senior IT people have deep-rooted concerns about bringing these solutions into their enterprise. They will resist it at all costs — up to and including their displacement from the corporation by dissatisfied business leaders who are frustrated that their tech leadership is consumed by day-to-day operational issues.

    As cloud computing moves beyond the early-adopter ranks, I'm wondering if some CEOs will start their search for a more open-minded CIO, to potentially replace the closed-minded one they currently have on their team?

  2. June 1st, 2009 at 06:09 | #2

    I am counting the days until the next buzzword – Virtual Private Clouds…

  3. June 1st, 2009 at 06:20 | #3

    @Fazal Majid

    Virtual Private Clouds? Already been done, mate!

    It's the natural evolution of the VPC concept:



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