Using a Public Cloud instead of an In-House Private Cloud

Last April, Jason Bloomberg of ZapThink issued a ZapFlash titled Cloud Computing: Rethinking Control of IT. I thought it would be useful to organize his arguments into a Force Field Analysis as described in Web Services, Service-Oriented Architectures, and Cloud Computing. The following analysis also includes information from two other ZapFlash entries that Jason referenced in his April ZapFlash: Why Public Clouds are More Secure than Private Clouds and Why You Really, Truly Don’t Want a Private Cloud. See the ZapFlash entries for an explanation of each of the driving and restraining forces shown below.

Using a Public Cloud instead of an In-House Private Cloud

This analysis illustrates the significant number of driving forces for using a Public Cloud. It also shows that many of the restraining forces are diminishing.

Jason’s recent ZapFlash highlighted what he saw as the desire to continue to have control of and responsibility for infrastructure on the part of IT in many organizations (seen as a restraining force in the figure). He argues that the appropriate Service Level Agreement (a driving force in the figure) can place responsibility on the Public Cloud Service Provider. That leaves control with IT and opens up the possibility of using the Public Cloud. The preferred way to deal with restraining forces is to weaken them. Jason’s approach that separates responsibility from control does just that.

Jason then discusses infrastructure and application differentiation and how IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS in the Public Cloud (driving forces) can be used appropriately to address differentiation. This is why infrastructure and application differentiation are shown as diminishing restraining forces in the figure.

Regulatory requirements about data protection or data movement are also shown as a diminishing restraining force. The reason is given in Why You Really, Truly Don’t Want a Private Cloud:

… any regulatory drawbacks to using public Clouds are essentially temporary, as the market responds to this demand. A new class of public Cloud provider, what is shaping up to be the “Enterprise Public Cloud Provider” marketplace, is on the rise. The players in this space are putting together offerings that include rigorous auditing, more transparent and stringent service-level agreements, and overall better visibility for corporate customers with regulatory concerns.

The remaining restraining force in the figure applies if an organization already has a significant investment in a data center and is considering converting that data center to support a Private Cloud. The strength of that restraining force will vary by organization and is also offset by driving forces such as issues related to staffing and managing a Private Cloud along with the collection of driving forces related to the idea that Private Clouds are likely to be less secure.

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