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Last Updated : Jun 17, 2013 07:42 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

The public private debate over cloud technology

Enterprises across verticals have recognised the value in cloud adoption but the question that the decision makers still keep deliberating on is whether to go private, public or hybrid.


Enterprises across verticals have recognised the value in cloud adoption but the question that the decision makers still keep deliberating on is whether to go private, public or hybrid. Other than the public private debate, organisations are also dealing with challenges like security, integration, interoperability and delivery of SLA’s around the cloud.


The question that needs to be addressed is what works best and offers a cost effective secured solution. As no one size fits all, the answer lies in the requirement of the organisation, the strategy, objective and the business driver.


"For us as an Enterprise user, how critical is the application determines the preference. We would prefer public cloud, only if it is offering a significant cost advantage compared to in-house investment, along with stringent SLA's. Also cloud implementation needs are being driven based on the refreshment cycle period; hence we were looking out for a public cloud based reliable offering for our next refreshment of server infrastructure," expressed Pratap Gharge, Executive Vice President & CIO at Bajaj Electricals Ltd.


Core Still Hosted in Private


General trend seems to be applications like e-mail, Spam-control, Sales Force automation (that requires access from anywhere and being used by mobile workforce) are going to public cloud first. Most of the back end applications like ERP, SCM, and core business handling applications are still being hosted in private self-owned or hosted data centres and rarely being seen as going to the public cloud infrastructure.


Mani Mulki, General Manager (Information Technology Division) ICICI Bank opines, "For very large organisations it makes sense to go on a private cloud as the infrastructure can be shared and services dispersed to all the groups. The architecture is robust and the cost advantage is visible. It helps in offering thin computing which can be metered. The main advantage of cloud is when you can distribute the computing power on need basis and meter it for cost."


According to an Executive Vice-President and Head of Product Engineering Services at a leading technology hardware & services company, "Public clouds have been around for many years now. Adoption is increasing in certain industries and usage areas. Private clouds are more complex simply because they are an adaptation of the cloud model to the customer's existing IT portfolio and therefore have to handle the complexity thereof. Customers tend to see private cloud deployments as within their realm of control and hence perceive them to be the ‘safer option’. Analysts predict a much larger market size for private clouds."


He also shared that they are migrating their internal applications on public cloud. "Our enterprise application portfolio which includes ERP, finance, HR, project management and resource management, run in a virtualised environment even now. We have seen huge benefits from server consolidation, reduction on compute power provisioning time and elimination of downtime during physical machine upgrades."


On the other hand, large government agencies or enterprises, which are highly regulated, may not have the option to use a public cloud. In such situations, private cloud presents an option that is efficient, cost-effective and highly scalable.


Shridhar Luthria of ResellerClub articulates, "With huge players like Directi, Bharti Airtel & Tata Communications offering strong cloud offerings the industry is growing really rapidly in India. Internally, most private software companies have started using tools like Basecamp (a cloud based project management tool) or hosted wikis for content management. Externally marketing departments are heavily using the cloud to reach out & engage with their customers through content hosted on the cloud."


Private cloud is the preferred choice across all countries in APJ. Cloud computing services exist along a spectrum from open public to closed private. Hybrid clouds are on a rise. As per a VMware Springboard Research report on cloud computing, the next three years will see the delivery of a range of cloud service approaches that fall between these two extremes. Vendors will offer packaged private cloud implementations that deliver the vendor's public cloud service technologies (software and/or hardware) and methodologies (i.e., best practices to build and run the service) in a form that can be implemented inside the consumer's enterprise.


A different school of thought


The emergence of the term, "private cloud" challenges common definitions of cloud computing and creates confusion. In this view, the use of private clouds is not cloud computing, since key attributes of cloud computing include the use of computing resources that reside outside of the enterprise and that are delivered to multiple customers (multi-tenancy) by a third party (cloud services provider).


Private clouds deliver IT resources from within the corporate firewall and to one customer. To those with this school of thought, the term private cloud is a misleading way of describing hosted services. In fact, it is like an oxymoron.


Satish Pendse, President, Highbar Technologies says, "Very large organisations with multi geographies and locations are the ones reaping benefits from the cloud model. These organisation have large complex systems in place and a private cloud environment will allow them to optimise, manage and scale their IT ecosystem better."


"For organisation with old implementations like ERP, SCM and other mission critical apps that are business sensitive will not really want to move to cloud yet as its best to leave them untouched. It would need lot of standardisation, customisation and time to move these applications to the cloud, which is not a viable option in the near future."


Vendors offer many ways to support these private clouds, but in general they tend to be more capital intensive to deploy than service-oriented scenarios, which tend to be opex-based. It's a question of choosing the most appropriate solution for the specific user scenario – for example, when companies are looking to consolidate multiple platforms where internal requirements may vary, dedicated private clouds may present significant benefits and cost savings."


For SaaS services, enterprises are moving heavily towards the public cloud model, while for large mission-critical enterprise applications, they are extending their already virtualised environments to a private cloud to get on-demand provisioning and bill-per-use for various lines of businesses. Also, industries like media and entertainment and retail are using more public cloud compared to banking and life sciences industries.


Conclusion:


Certainly we see an active uptake and adoption of the cloud environment; be it public, private, peripheral applications, Tier 1 or the likes. Though organisations continue to be constrained by debates on aspects like investment costs and value for money, security, readiness and availability, the traction and the shift is significant.


Organisations are going to look at what more can be put into the cloud and start leveraging the benefits. Over a period of time, organisations will find ways to ensure they leverage the cloud as things improve from a latency perspective. 91% Organisations in India now view cloud as more relevant.



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First Published on Jun 17, 2013 07:42 pm
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