Private cloud not necessary for enterprises, analyst says

There is a strategy for enterprises to manage the development of a private cloud by planning, designing, using existing resources and streamlining cloud services to suite a business’s needs, according to Andi Mann, the vice-president of Islandia, N.Y.-based CA Technologies Inc. and Kurt Milne, the managing director of Pittsburgh, Pa.-based IT Process Institute.

Mann and Milne describe the strategy in their book Visible Operations Private Cloud: from Virtualization to Private Cloud in 4 Practical Steps to be released on April 12.

Many enterprises in Canada are lacking a cloud strategy, according to David Senf, an analyst at IDC Canada Ltd.

“I agree with the notion to develop a cloud strategy,” he said. “(However), I do not think (enterprises) need to employ private clouds.”

Senf also agrees Mann and Milne’s strategy is good for enterprises looking to develop a private cloud. He also recognizes that it is especially important for companies to focus on designing business-focused cloud services, as Mann and Milne point out in their book.

Enterprises can also use a hybrid cloud strategy consisting of both public cloud and private cloud services, Senf said. Hybrid cloud services are provided by organizations allowing enterprises to manage some resources in-house and others externally. An example is an enterprise using a public cloud service for general computing and then storing some of the information in its data centre.

“A lot of firms will just use the public cloud, especially smaller companies,” Senf said. “This (private cloud strategy) is for the enterprise.”

Typically enterprise, companies with over a thousand employees may use private clouds. However, not all enterprises do use private clouds, according to Senf.

“The large enterprises are drawn to private cloud. This book is geared towards them,” Milne said.

Enterprises tend to create a private cloud because the public cloud offers attractive computing resources such as software-as-a-service and these are relatively cheap. Private clouds have the additional capability of being customized to cater to an enterprise’s specific needs and offer better security than services in the public cloud, Milne and Mann said.

“We talked to a lot of experts in the field; we wanted to find out what they were doing (in terms of) cloud virtualization,” Mann said.

While conducting research for their book, Mann and Milne asked IT professionals about their best practices in cloud computing for enterprises. They discovered it is important an enterprise uses what resources it already has to see what its own IT department can do to create and manage a private company cloud.

“From the CIO perspective, it means take a longer term look,” Senf said.

IT departments need to look at e-mail, business intelligence, cost, security and governance before determining whether to use public cloud, private cloud or a hybrid approach, according to Senf.

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