Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

It’s War: Public vs. Private Cloud Computing

There is a common question that almost universally arises when people discuss cloud computing

There is a common question that almost universally arises when people discuss cloud computing. The question came up in a webinar I did with Rackspace last week. It was featured in regular conversation at Cloud Connect and then again on Twitter from Adrian Cockcroft. The question was framed like;

  • "There is no technical reason for private cloud, it's all $, FUD, and internal politics. Discuss." - Adrian Cockcroft,
  • Do you think there is a need for private clouds (vs. public)?

Important to note we are not talking whether they should run on a cloud. This argument only applies to applications and workloads that have already been determined to be a good fit for cloud.

The second question is more easily answered as it alludes to diverse organizational requirements that are unable to be serviced by a commodity service, or the natural inertia of organizations to adopt new methods. The arguments for adoption of private cloud over public cover a range of topics, including:

  • Trust
  • Service level agreements
  • Security needs
  • Migration costs
  • And many more

The more meaty argument is Adrian's. Is there any "technical reason" for not running on public cloud? This challenges us to try and determine if there are architectural patterns that public clouds cannot provide.

Adrian is royalty in the realm of cloud (I prefer "royalty" because it reflects respect for his achievement and position, instead of the term "clouderati," which reflects some sort of enlightenment), but his question is a little sensational. First of all it is so broad, it's difficult to support or refute. Second, it encompasses the future, for which anything is possible. He blogs in more detail here.

But, for what it's worth, here are my thoughts. Public clouds are designed on one basic premise that differentiates them from a private cloud - "Economies of Scale." Having enough workload running in a multi-tenancy environment will balance out noise in the elasticity of workload and also drive down costs for the operation of the infrastructure. So for a private cloud to exist technically, it needs;

  • Enough volume to have economies of scale internally
  • Workload elasticity to warrant a cloud
  • A specific technical requirement that does not warrant economies of scale publicly

I am an architectural pragmatist. Sometimes the cloud debate gets a bit more religious and I feel more like an atheist or a nihilist. I do believe that infrastructure (compute, storage, network & operating systems) and the workloads it is able to support are sufficiently complex to represent a distribution curve of requirements. The amount that can be served by public clouds represents the meat in the middle of the curve. This curve might have an extremely narrow peak, but the tails still exist.

The argument will be that there are many different public clouds, and they can service a wide range of technical requirements, but I still believe that the underlying architecture patterns are complex enough to reveal patterns that cannot be provided in volume.

The other issue I have with economies of scale solutions is they inherently develop lowest common denominator architecture. The non-technical aspects of public clouds limit their ability to solve for all workloads.

In closing, I will try and give examples of workloads that need private clouds:

  1. Slot machine gaming software - very elastic workload with very specific technical requirements for security, auditability and physical machine interface. I cannot see this being supported by a public cloud.
  2. Online gaming - take a large Facebook-based games company. Lots of elastic workloads, but all with a very close correlation architecturally to each other. They have the economies of scale on their own to get the benefits of efficient operations. I can see them developing a private cloud that is optimized for their unique technical requirements while providing a high degree of automation to get better efficiencies than a public cloud.

In the end, I don't see public vs private cloud as a war. Maybe more of an argument for tolerance and an endorsement of the adage "to each his own".

More Stories By Brad Vaughan

Brad Vaughan is a twenty year veteran consultant working with companies around the globe to transform technology infrastructure to deliver enhanced business services.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
SYS-CON Events announced today that A&I Solutions has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 1999, A&I Solutions is a leading information technology (IT) software and services provider focusing on best-in-class enterprise solutions. By partnering with industry leaders in technology, A&I assures customers high performance levels across all IT environments including: mai...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tappest will exhibit MooseFS at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MooseFS is a breakthrough concept in the storage industry. It allows you to secure stored data with either duplication or erasure coding using any server. The newest – 4.0 version of the software enables users to maintain the redundancy level with even 50% less hard drive space required. The software func...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "We are a software house, so we perfectly understand challenges that other software houses face in their projects. We can augment a team, that will work with the same standards and processes as our partners' internal teams. Our teams will deliver the same quality within the required time and budget just as our partn...
Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s increasingly a software-driven business. Consumers’ rising expectations for connected digital and physical experiences are driving what some are calling the "Customer Experience Challenge.” In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Marco Morales, Director of Global Solutions at CollabNet, will discuss how organizations are increasingly adopting a discipline of Value Stream Mapping to ensure that the software they are producing is poised to o...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).