While most of the discussion surrounding cloud computing is focused on services provided by companies such as Amazon, in the end these public cloud platforms will be seen as extensions of more dominant private cloud deployments.
That's how Jimmy Tam, general manager and senior vice president of sales and marketing at Peer Software, a provider of data and storage management software, sees cloud computing evolving, largely due to the fragility of global enterprise networks and ongoing concerns over data security.
Tam argues that we're already seeing a rapid shift toward private cloud computing models in the enterprise as IT organizations start to respond to the perceived competitive threat of public cloud infrastructure providers. And while many vendors are starting to make a case for virtual data centers that essentially create private clouds on top of public infrastructure, the state of enterprise networking is not likely to make virtual data centers a truly viable option for years.
In the meantime, internal IT organizations will continue to develop their own internal private cloud infrastructure, while looking to external public cloud providers as commodity sources of raw compute horsepower to handle routine tasks such as archiving or augmenting internal IT during peak times.
The result, said Tam, is that cloud computing by definition will be hybrid, with private cloud computing deployments the dominant model. There may be a few "green field" applications that will be deployed on public clouds, but Tam says most enterprise applications will run on private clouds
Of course, most people still don't really have a handle on what cloud computing is. But Tam expects that in a few more months, investors will begin to figure all this out and punish the stocks of public cloud infrastructure providers accordingly, because, at least in Tam's mind, the hybrid future of cloud computing is a certainty.