All hail the private cloud

In its last post, Quocirca reported the finding from its report, entitled “2012 – The year of Application Performance Management (APM)” (freely available here), that the overriding priority for IT managers was application performance.

Respondents were asked about 15 possible areas for focus altogether. With the ranking system used, APM scored 36%, second was private cloud with 27%, closely followed by virtualisation with 26%. Hybrid cloud was 9th with 20% and public cloud 11th with 18%; bad news for public cloud then?

Not at all; to think that is to misunderstand what must happen for the momentum behind public cloud that is evident elsewhere to continue. If private cloud were not ranked so highly this would simply fizzle out as there only a limited number of projects that are deployed straight away on to a pure public cloud platform.

The overwhelming majority of IT deployment in businesses remains in private data centres (or at private space in shared co-location facilities). There it would remain trapped, if these data centres themselves were not changing; which they are, as witnessed by Quocirca’s research. The value of virtualisation and the cloud technology that pulls vast amounts of virtualised infrastructure together is being recognised and put into action by businesses of all sizes across the globe (see two other Quocirca reports, Next Generation Datacentre Cycle II – Cloud findings and Next Generation Datacentres Index – Cycle II).

There are two big benefits for businesses in doing this. First, it makes the use of equipment and power in their own data centres more efficient, and second, it enables the workloads that make up their applications to be more mobile. They can be moved from one private data centre to another or beyond the data centre to make use of public cloud resources.

With that flexibility in place the realisation is dawning on businesses that they do not have to keep investing in new data centre facilities and IT infrastructure to get more and more out of their applications. They can handle peak loads better, put in place better resilience, grow faster in the good times and scale back quickly in downturns through the use of public cloud. The stage is set for a flood of workloads from private to public cloud; in most cases this will be reach an equilibrium between the two; that is, hybrid cloud.

Cisco’s Summer 2012 Cloudwatch report reports the number of companies planning to use “cloud” has surged from 52% in 2011 to 90% this year. The report also shows that an increasing number worry less about cloud security: Quocirca’s own research also shows that the long held belief (in Quocirca’s view, a mistaken belief) that the public cloud is inherently insecure is rapidly being overcome.

The public cloud could only ever become mainstream reality for businesses of all sizes, if big businesses start to change the way they manage their IT, enabling them to embrace it. This is happening, enabled by the creation of private clouds. This process will continue to provide the investment stream needed for building public cloud infrastructure for the long term benefit of all.

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