Ask the IT Consultant

Jul 25 2010   8:00PM GMT

Evaluating Cloud Computing Services – Part 3

Beth Cohen Beth Cohen Profile: Beth Cohen

Question:  As an enterprise customer, I need robust services that will support the global reach of my company.  What types of cloud products and architectures will meet my requirements?

As we discussed in parts 1 and 2, cloud services can be classified into five broad categories:

  • Consumer Grade
  • Small Business Grade
  • Mid-sized Business Grade
  • Enterprise Grade
  • Private Cloud

While the consumer and the small business cloud services are well established and accepted by the customers who are looking for the cheapest possible services, and the mid-market  is slowly gaining acceptance as the growing number of cloud services catering to companies that want enterprise class services at  mid-market prices, cloud at the enterprise level is an entirely different animal.  Part 3 of this series will cover the cloud architectures and services that appeal to the needs of the large enterprise.

Enterprise Grade – The newest entrant in the cloud arena are services that specifically designed to satisfy the more demanding enterprise customer.  These offerings are premium priced, but deliver higher availability service level agreements, failover, security and other features that are appealing to companies that need those features, but do not have the resources or the interest in building a private network.  I predict as the cloud ramps up in the marketplace, this is going to become the largest and most profitable piece of the cloud marketplace, since the clients are typically companies with deep pockets and a deep understanding of the economics of scale.  These are companies that already have substantial investment in data centers or large multi-year contracts with outsourcing providers such as IBM, HP, CSC or others of similar ilk.  The new services will be developed and marketed by these same vendors.  An interesting company exploring this space is Cloudswitch with its private virtual data centers in the cloud approach.  IBM is announcing enterprise grade cloud services.  How they will be able to balance their need to keep with the times and customer demands, while maintaining their existing customer base for traditional managed data center services should be interesting to watch.

Private Cloud - These services are essentially a repackaging of the more familiar managed services.  The primary difference is that they leverage virtualization and the more efficient cloud architectures.  Users of such services are primarily governments, large corporations, financial institutions and others who either already have a major investment in IT infrastructure or have a need for the privacy and security that this approach affords.  Of course, there is less opportunity for gaining the maximum efficiencies that the public cloud offers.  One recent entrant in the private cloud migration business is Acadia, a company founded by a coalition of EMC and Cisco, with additional funding by Intel and VMWare.  Acadia is packaging a private cloud solution utilizing the Vblock infrastructure, to partners and customers that want a Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) model.

With multi-million dollar contracts riding on the line, the competition by the vendors to chase the enterprise cloud market will be furious, but will the big vendors be able to move fast enough to catch up with the innovators?  Whatever happens, the next few years will be an exciting ride.

About the Author

Beth Cohen, Cloud Technology Partners

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