Technically, cloud computing is supposed to refer to instances of software running on multi-tenant systems. In reality, the definition of “The Cloud” has been steadily expanding to include any application running outside a customer’s data center. In fact, it’s not all that uncommon for an organization to start out looking for a cloud solution only to decide that what they really want is a single tenant system that is truly secure, otherwise known as managed hosting.
These days, a private cloud can run anywhere and be managed by anyone. IT organizations are creating private clouds that run on premise and in third-party data centers. Those instances of private clouds might be managed by them or remotely by a third party. In reality, most organizations are going to find themselves, to one degree or another, using just about every form of cloud computing there is.
According to Shelton Shugar, vice president of enterprise cloud services engineering and operations for HP Enterprise Services, as the cloud evolves, full-service providers such as HP will have a strategic advantage. Not only does HP provide public and private cloud services, Shugar says HP has a full gamut of hosting and managed service offerings, including being able to manage physical servers in HP data centers on behalf of customers.
While cloud computing is a loaded term, Shugar says customers should be careful not to let preconceived notions limit their options. There’s a lot of value in the cloud; it’s just that multi-tenancy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, it’s a style of computing that may or may not be appropriate to a specific type of application workload.
Purists will bristle as the definition of cloud computing continues to expand. In fact, the whole notion of cloud computing may just wind up dissipating into the firmament of enterprise computing because arguably it’s just another layer of computing. Technical arguments aside, that may not be a bad thing because it would signal that cloud computing, along with the IT industry as a whole, might have finally reached a new level of maturity that some would argue is long overdue.