“Simple” Will Win in Private Cloud Adoption

Peter Bookman, Global Strategist, Sphere 3DPeter Bookman, Global Strategist, Sphere 3D

Do you remember the fun we had at late night debates, kicking around early cloud concepts like whether there really is such a thing as private Cloud?  It seems that we’ve finally accepted that private Cloud and probably a number of sub-categories of Cloud are very real and have their own unique requirements.

Recently, Stu Miniman, senior analyst and principal researcher at Wikibon published some thoughts on why private Cloud is poised for growth, and what the market needs for adoption.  He defined technology requirements for the “true private Cloud” including:

  • Built on converged (and/or hyper-converged) infrastructure, that can be highly automated and managed as logical pools of compute, network and storage resources.
  • Enables end-users (developers, line-of-business, etc.) to have self-service access to resource-pools and have visibility to costs.
  • Optimized for lower-cost operations from Day-0 to Day-N (install and beyond)
  • Delivered as a complete solution, with a single point of purchase/support/maintenance/upgrade.
  • The private Cloud can live within the customer’s data-center (on-premises) or be delivered via a dedicated Cloud provider set of resources (e.g. virtual private Cloud).
  • The private Cloud should be designed to accommodate hybrid use cases, where the IT organization can accommodate both CAPEX and OPEX requirements of the business.” Stu Miniman – http://wikibon.com/evolving-converged-infrastructure-towards-true-private-cloud/

Wow!  How many IT departments are equipped for this?  More importantly, how many need to be?  I have seen a major shift in people as world class compute architects have moved from vendors and the channel to the Fortune 100 and public Cloud architecture companies.  This lack of experienced architects leaves so many needs unaddressed in the private Cloud.  Stu said, “Companies that spend 70+percent of budgets in the care and maintenance of infrastructure do not have the resources (and often don’t have the knowledge) to meet new business requirements. Infrastructure should essentially be ‘invisible;’ IT needs solutions that can be spun up quick and allow IT and the business to be agile.  Stu and I are saying the same thing but in different ways.  Whether the issue is that there are too few people dedicated towards private Cloud, or that they have to spend most of their time on other existing needs and immediate problems, there doesn’t appear to be the available human resources to execute on Stu’s private Cloud criteria.

What we absolutely agree on is the crux of his article and video. The “true private Cloud” opportunity is entirely about IT simplification.

Based on that criteria for private Cloud, it is no accident that Stu and so many others see promise in architectures based on hyperconverged appliances.  Are they good enough though?  I don’t think so.  Although hyperconverged boxes look like plug and play Lego blocks , they still do not meet the last two of Stu’s criteria.  They are contained within their own system and do not play with others, and certainly do not play with the public Cloud infrastructure.

I submit that to make things simple enough, we must bring niche focus to private Cloud, public Cloud, hybrid Cloud and any other type of combined clouds.  The premise for this is actually very simple and achieved with two rules:

  1. Make computing resources fungible.  Compute, RAM, storage, networking, etc. need to be available as Cloud-like assets which can be built on, used, borrowed, and moved around as needed in a truly agile environment on demand.  Disparate pieces of computing resources must be aggregated into one pool that any app or any group of users can access as needed.
  2. Make apps portable. private Cloud servers must work with their public Cloud counterparts to deliver applications such as virtual desktops, Windows applications and associated storage.

Only when the private Cloud infrastructure achieves fungibility and portability with other Clouds will it be adopted en masse like its public Cloud counterpart.

Of course, I wouldn’t be sharing this if I didn’t think we had many of these solutions already.  We know that many organizations desperately want to bring Cloud in-house to support their agile environments.  With offerings such as Horizon Air Hybrid from VMware and Azure Stack from Microsoft, we will further extend what we can offer and increase the simplicity of deployment.

How can we help with your private Cloud adoption for desktops, applications and storage?  How can we help you create the complete Cloud?  We look forward to having these conversations with you.