Guest Column | August 23, 2013

Private vs. Public Cloud 101

By Kirk Nesbit, VP of design and support services for SERVICESolv Group of SYNNEX Corporation

As the IT channel has seen a growing “cloud fatigue,” the differentiation of cloud business models has become clearer. When deciding on the best model to deploy, it’s important to consider the similarities and differences between public and private cloud and also whether their traits could be combined in the form of hybrid cloud deployment.  

Workloads, applications and services running in all cloud models share several traits:

  • Workloads can be deployed on-demand, by authorized IT, or non-IT administrators
  • Workloads can be enabled in a pay-per-use, consumption-based model
  • Cloud IT infrastructure capacity is elastic, scaling with an organization’s specific needs
  • Workloads are accessible anywhere via network and Internet connections
  • Usage is metered, allowing for precise accounting of an organization’s consumption of IT capacity

Keep in mind that virtualization alone doesn’t equate to cloud deployment. While virtualization is a key component, complementary tools are essential to enabling the cloud functions listed above. Without these, the solution is no different than conventional IT.

Private Cloud

According to IDC, 80% of the Global 2,000 will have 70% of their IT infrastructure on-premise by 2016, in part due to the CXO’s concerns over the security of their IT environment and the reality that applications and workloads must meet the user’s performance expectations.

Private cloud is often associated with on-premise, conventional IT, which is true for the most part. While most organizations deploy private cloud on-premise, they alternatively could be implemented in a hosting datacenter, with network and physical isolation. Typically, private cloud involves some level of outsourcing of IT services such as assessment, design, deployment, training, and ongoing management and consultation.

Public Cloud

Public cloud has tremendous allure as it possesses the cloud characteristics above and leverages the economies of scale that come with a hosting organization’s investment in infrastructure and spreading the cost among multiple tenant organizations. Tenants’ workloads and data are logically isolated from each other. Depending on the role of an organization’s IT staff, public cloud equates to nearly, if not 100% outsourcing of IT (hardware, software, services). 

SMB organizations are great candidates for having their workloads deployed in public cloud facilities. These businesses rarely have IT resources (depending on VARs/MSPs for IT support) and would rather not be responsible for any IT technology within their offices. The delivery of a consistent service at a predictable cost that also meets necessary compliance guidelines is a key factor for SMBs across all industries.

Beyond SMB, public cloud can be utilized by organizations that adopt a stance toward hybrid cloud, especially when they have adopted private cloud and have chosen select non-core applications to be outsourced in the public cloud. It makes sense to isolate test and development activities in the public cloud rather than burdening the production infrastructure or requiring incremental capital purchases to support finite testing and implementation projects.

Consider the unknown IT consumption requirements of a start-up business. The public cloud allows for the consumption of strictly those IT resources required to launch and grow a business and avoids unnecessary capital spend so it can be applied to other strategic areas.

A Shifting Role for Private Cloud    

End users are right to consider the appropriateness of all cloud models as they apply to their industry dynamics and many aspects of their overall financial objectives. The channel needs to be able to express the value of the respective models in ROI and TCO terms like never before.  

Both models of cloud delivery have significant life, not to mention growth ahead of them, for reasons mentioned. Solution providers that can combine the allure of a public cloud and charge end users for just what they consume, regardless of model will share the most success. Those who can deliver a consumption-based/pay-per-use model for private cloud will realize tremendous product revenue from mid-market, enterprise, and government organizations, owning their customer relationship for years to come.