While cloud computing services come in many forms, Gartner predicts that through 2012, IT organisations will invest more in private cloud services than in offerings from public cloud providers.
Private cloud computing is a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to internal customers using Internet technologies. This definition is very similar to Gartner’s public cloud computing definition, however the focus on internal is related to who can access or use the services in question and who owns or coordinates the resources used to deliver the services.
“With cloud offerings coming in the form of services, this means that the IT organisation will be replaced by relationships to many cloud computing service providers, each for one or a handful of services,” says Phil Dawson, research vice-president at Gartner.
The reality of the future IT organisation will be somewhat a combination. “Larger organisations will continue to have an IT organisation that manages and deploys IT resources internally. Some of these will be ‘private clouds’, but not all,” says Dawson. “IT departments will also take on IT service sourcing responsibility – determining when to leverage external providers, when to deploy internally, and when to leverage both for specific services.”
Gartner predicts that private cloud services will be a stepping-stone to future public cloud services. For many large organisations, private cloud services will continue to be required for many years, as public cloud offerings mature.
There are two characteristics that companies need to consider when investing in private cloud computing delivery, as opposed to public cloud computing delivery.
First, private cloud services are implemented for an exclusive set of consumers (that is, only approved members can participate, and approval is contingent on some characteristic that the general public or other general businesses cannot gain easily). The access will frequently be controlled by a centralised organisation, such as a company's IT organisation or an industry association, but this control is not essential to the concept of the private cloud.
Second, they can be built on top of a public cloud infrastructure or in a hybrid model.
In addition, the scope of internal cloud services around intimacy and integration can be compared to external cloud services that are dependent on interface and independence from the organisation. IT services used in the public cloud are standard across businesses, and not differentiators. These services are separated from the business – independent, not customised and not integrated. They focus on creating a self-service, easy-to-use, and are generally not end-customer facing. They are also a relatively static service.
Although some IT services are destined for the cloud computing delivery, others are destined for more integration and intimacy with the business. These services are business differentiators and tightly integrated with the business. They change often and are integrated and customised. They may incorporate a range of standardised cloud services (for example payment processing), but the resulting aggregate service will be enterprise unique and will not be typical to cloud services.
“For now, private cloud computing will not just be a viable term, it will be a significant strategic investment for most large organisations. We predict that through 2012, more than 75% of organisation’s use of cloud computing will be devoted to very large data queries, short-term massively parallel workloads, or IT use by start-ups with little to no IT infrastructure,” says Dawson.