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Is the cloud pendulum swinging back to private cloud?


By: Eric J. Bruno

The hype and excitement for public cloud services has certainly grown, and past research shows that adoption has grown with it. But are businesses now reconsidering their approach? According to the most recent data and trends, the pendulum may be shifting back toward private cloud—but not all the way. Analysis shows that a hybrid cloud approach is where most businesses are settling.

cloud pendulum, cloud brokering, cloudCloud surveys from a year or two ago revealed how public cloud adoption had grown in recent years. According to this survey, in 2013 public cloud use was at 61 percent among respondents, while in 2014 it jumped to 89 percent or more. However, according to the latest data from 451 Research1, a firm with a focus on cloud computing, private cloud adoption is growing as enterprises adopt a hybrid approach to cloud computing.

Key factors driving cloud adoption

451 Research found that a majority of IT departments of all organization sizes have already adopted a cloud strategy. This includes both private and public cloud, which itself is composed of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Specifically, survey reports show that while public SaaS usage has grown the most among enterprises, private cloud rollouts are a close second.

Whether driven by time to market, reduced complexity, security, or best value, organizations haven't adopted a standard cloud strategy. In fact, these research results indicate that 70 percent of organizations have multiple clouds in use today, with 37 percent having already deployed a hybrid cloud implementation. This should further drive flexibility in terms of workload migration to and from the private cloud as user demand, data security, and cheaper computing dictate.

New application development

While it's clear that most organizations buy into the benefits of the cloud, concerns over security, privacy, regulatory compliance, cloud provider lock-in, and loss of control continue to linger. But the data also shows that a cloud-based approach is still preferred to a traditional, siloed data center approach.

Further advancements, such as cloud orchestration and container-based virtualization (for example, Docker), are helping to facilitate rapid deployment and seamless migration of workloads across private and multi-vendor public cloud environments. This in turn is helping to remove barriers and resolve problems associated with traditional siloed infrastructure, such as higher costs, technology debt, and slow responses to user requests, business needs, and market changes.

Where are enterprises turning when they need to deploy new applications and services? Are they turning to the traditional data center, the private cloud, or the public cloud? Nearly half of those surveyed by 451 Research have opted for a private cloud rollout for new application development over traditional deployments or even public cloud. Adopters of this strategy are already reaping the benefits of private cloud computing, which includes greater flexibility; more control over price, performance, security, and compliance; and greater integration with internal continuous-delivery processes and tools.


Looking at the research, cloud itself may not be the central IT strategy going forward. Instead, cloud has now become part of a larger strategy to enable IT to be increasingly agile and nimble. The adoption of a cloud strategy has led the transformation of IT away from silos of technology to a services-based model. According to 451 Research's definition of IT-as-a-service (ITaaS), the "IT department acts and operates as an internal service provider or cloud brokerage, creating services for the other lines of business (LOBs) within the organization."

As enterprises embrace the cloud and IT transforms into a service provider, ITaaS and its benefits will be made possible by a hybrid approach that includes a private cloud rollout. These capabilities will enable best-execution-venue deployment, which will further drive the need for a multi-cloud strategy in a cycle that strengthens over time.

Hybrid cloud: Part of a larger strategy

Ultimately, both the cloud and ITaaS position enterprises for the future. With this larger strategy, services and workloads can move seamlessly between a hybrid infrastructure of public and private clouds as user demand ebbs and flows, or as regulatory and privacy policies change.

So what can we take away from this research? First, it's just not reasonable to assume that a single cloud environment will best meet the diverse requirements of a broad set of workloads spanning multiple lines of business and functional areas across an enterprise. Next, the benefits of the cloud are clearly being realized, such as rapid response to change, greater scalability, a focus on services instead of siloed technology, and so on. Finally, a cloud brokerage ITaaS model based on a hybrid cloud approach is not only an excellent first step toward the cloud, but also a great position to be in for future business requirements.

1"Enterprises Accelerating Adoption of Multi-Cloud Strategy." Kiran Shah & Michelle Bailey. 451 Research. August 2015. 


About the author

Eric BrunoEric Bruno

 Computer scientist skilled in full life cycle, large-scale software architecture, design, and development. His accomplishments span development expertise in the areas of client/server ,highly distributed, multi-tiered web, as well as real-time and transactional software.

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