Cloud Provider Commentary

May 31 2012   2:02PM GMT

Is private cloud really a cloud?

Gina Narcisi Gina Narcisi Profile: Gina Narcisi

When I began covering cloud, the “dumb” question that kept popping up for me that I was afraid to ask: Is the private cloud actually a cloud? The article posted on Forbes this week entitled “Private clouds are from Mars, public clouds are from Venus…Sort of” assured me that I’m not alone, and that even enterprise IT departments see public and private cloud as two completely different entities.

While public clouds can be purchased via the internet though a third party — like Amazon — many enterprise users I’ve spoken to have said that their private clouds come from the enterprise virtualizing their services. In fact, as the article suggests, it seems like enterprises are thinking about private cloud as an extension of virtualization and not necessarily a cloud strategy at all.

Private clouds seem to be the safe bet, maybe even a baby step for enterprises and businesses wanting to make a move toward the cloud. Private clouds are still managed and created by IT and are thought to present less of a foreseeable risk to the enterprise, so who can blame them?

But the public cloud is a different story. If the company needs to put out applications and functions right away and perhaps doesn’t have the IT department in place to do it, here’s where the public cloud can come in handy.

The hybrid model (or happy medium) can be thought of as a viable option for many companies that want to control some functionality, but may be willing to let somebody else handle the management of other applications. This strategy might be favorable to those who are on the fence about whether the cloud is right for their business and it’s also fitting to different industries faced with compliance regulations — like health care and financial institutions.

It looks like it’s really up to the cloud provider to know its audience.

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