Could the adoption of private cloud be the resolution to security fears?

News by Dan Raywood

The capability of establishing and working within a private cloud could bring comfort to the suspicions of using the public cloud.

The capability of establishing and working within a private cloud could bring comfort to the suspicions of using the public cloud.

Lori MacVittie, senior technical marketing manager at F5 Networks, claimed that with risks associated with security, availability and performance higher than the always-associated benefits of public cloud computing of lower costs, scalability and flexibility, this results in a reluctance to adopt public cloud computing and is driving organisations towards private cloud computing.

She pointed to recent research by IDC, published by Network Computing, which claimed that while growing numbers of businesses understand the advantages of embracing cloud computing, they are more concerned about the risks involved.

MacVittie said: “Public cloud cannot or will not at this point address these challenges, but private cloud computing can and is – by architecting a collection of infrastructure services that can be leveraged by (internal) customers on an application by application (and sometimes request by request) basis. What will ultimately bubble up and become more obvious to public cloud providers is customer demand.

“Because customers right now are not fully exercising public cloud computing as they would their own private implementation – replete with infrastructure services, business critical applications and adherence to business-focused service level agreements – public cloud providers are a bit of a disadvantage.

“The market isn't telling them what they want and need, thus public cloud providers are left to fend for themselves. Or they may be pandering necessarily to the needs and demands of a few customers that have fully adopted their platform as their data centre du jour.”

She claimed that organisations have abandoned the pretence of caring about the definition of ‘cloud' and whether or not such a thing as ‘private' cloud exists. They are now forging their way forward past ‘virtualisation plus' (a derogatory and dismissive term often used to describe such efforts by some public cloud providers), and into the latter stages of the cloud computing maturity model.

Research this week by SunGard Availability Services found that businesses can save up to 55 per cent on their IT operational spend by moving their IT infrastructure to a private cloud and provisioning it as a service.

The investigation, which was based on SunGard's customer experience, took into consideration not only the basic in-house data centre and infrastructure maintenance costs, but also includes ‘invisible' ancillary charges that are often overlooked by CIOs when considering the expense of moving to the cloud. These include the cost of hiring staff to run data centres around the clock (salary and benefits); the financing needed to build the in-house data centre; and the costs of power, security and rates.

Keith Tilley, managing director UK and executive vice president Europe for SunGard Availability Services, said: “Infrastructure within the cloud will play a significant role in the future of IT. It not only presents an opportunity for companies to move away from complex and outdated legacy equipment, which soaks up a large proportion of the IT budget, but also offers increased flexibility in terms of scalability and IT agility, making for a very cost-effective solution.”

Tony Lock, analyst at Freeform Dynamics, said that the cloud's modular nature could enable businesses to buy exactly what they need today rather than speculate on a costly IT solution that they hope the business will grow into at some point in the future.

“Although many enterprises have been reluctant to adopt the cloud model due to concerns about the security and availability of their data, this fear is no longer valid given the different types of cloud solution currently available and the levels of security and resilience offered by some vendors,” he said.

Justin Pirie, director of communities and content at Mimecast, said: “There has been a great deal of hype around the benefits of cloud services and while there is huge potential for organisations embracing the cloud, it is in many ways still an emerging industry.

“However, it is wrong to present cloud adoption as an all or nothing decision. Increasingly, businesses are looking for a middle ground that offers the best of both worlds by using cloud services to augment their existing on-premise infrastructure.

“For those companies which do not want to fully embrace cloud computing this ‘just enough onsite' approach offers an opportunity to adopt cloud computing in a way that is manageable and risk free. By adopting cloud services in this way, IT departments can retain the control and visibility that comes with on-premise technology, while gaining all the benefits of the cloud in terms of lower costs, greater scalability and limitless storage.”

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