Posted by: Christian Verstraete | February 9, 2010

Private Cloud, on premise or off premise?

SMB looks at “the cloud”, and Amazon in particular. Maybe with the announcement of Microsoft Azure going live, there is an opportunity for more competition. Azure is actually the first architecture that was built for the cloud, so it should be interesting to see how things are going.

Although enterprises embrace the concept of cloud, most of them focus on private ones avoiding security and management issues. The PD&E space I talked about in my previous entry is an example of this. But going for a private cloud does not address the financial aspects as it keeps the CaPEX costs.

A solution may exist in the form of a utility computing environment, providing cloud type services, but in a secure manner in clearly identified data centres. The cloud afinados will immediately balk as such environments may not allow unlimited elasticity. But frankly, how often have you had to go from using 50 servers to 5000 in a matter of minutes, as Animoto did in an often publicised case study.

Such utility computing environment allows, SSL secure internet, VPN or leased line interaction with the servers located in a Tier III data centre, fully managed by the supplier. The advantage is you only pay for what you use while you only have to manage what you actually do. Some of those environments even offer SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Exchange and other software as a service, removing the hassle of having to manage that.

Using such environment is a secure way to learn more about the impact of “cloud” on the IT department, its operations, processes and ways of working. It combines the externalization of the environment with the security of using a “private cloud” while being different from traditional outsourcing in its capability of scaling up and down, while building on standard services and SLA’s.  Over the last couple years, HP has developed such infrastructure under the name Adaptive Infrastructure Services. While not the only implementation it is definitely one to look at in developing a private cloud POC. Its off premise nature removes the need for more data centre space, more power and cooling and more management capabilities. Manufacturing customers should definitely take advantage of this moving forward as their IT needs keep increasing. They may also want to look at such environment to host their supply chain community cloud.

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