Cloud Computing is both inspiring and confusing to many people. When you realize the efficiency and cost savings offered by the cloud, you get inspired but when you listen to the marketing folks, you get confused. The reason is pretty straightforward. The marketing folks on the public cloud side wants you to believe that it is a miracle pill set out to cure all the problems of IT and if you listen to the marketing folks on the private cloud side, they will want you to shudder at the very thought of public clouds. The reality is somewhere in between.
- In the first stage, enterprises learned from the public clouds and wanted to have the same kind of operational efficiency in house. This process has already started and is evident from a very vibrant private cloud marketplace
- In the second stage, which is slowly starting to happen right now, enterprises are seeing the economic benefits of pushing non critical workloads to the public clouds (test, development, QA, training, etc.) and they also realize that the hybrid cloud approach to IT is the most efficient path to take till the public clouds mature in terms of performance and security. They are increasingly looking for solutions that will help them do the Hybrid cloud dance seamlessly from within an unified interface
- In the final stage, as the security of public clouds improve drastically and the public cloud providers ensure consistently high performance within their infrastructure, economics will push most of the enterprise workloads into the public clouds. There may be some workloads (for example, in some highly regulated industries) that will reside inside the firewall but the rest will be on the public clouds. We are at least 5-10 years away from this stage. We need to get over the unnecessary public-private debates and unwanted posturing before we can get there.
- Self Service Catalog – A self service portal where various enterprise business units can “buy” standardized service packages in a typical e-commerce way. Various business units within an organization should be able to choose different services based on their needs with an automated fulfillment and tracking initiated from the portal
- Automation – The process of packaging, deploying and managing these workloads should be completely automated
- Elasticity – There should be a highly scalable private cloud infrastructure underneath which could tap into public cloud resources based on the needs of different workloads