Public Versus Private Cloud Distinction Starts to Blur

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Private Versus Public Cloud Computing

A plethora of applications are being considered for the cloud, but it may take at least another year before cloud computing goes mainstream in the enterprise.

When it comes to the distinction between public and private cloud computing, the lines are starting to blur as most IT organizations try to figure out where they want to use each type of cloud computing platform.

A new survey of 100 senior IT managers conducted by Osterman Research on behalf of Electric Cloud, a provider of tools for managing the application development process in cloud computing environments, makes it clear that most IT organizations are still investigating the various forms of cloud computing, and as a result, the budgets being allocated for cloud computing in 2011 are, on average, not all that substantial.

A major factor in the confusion stems from the fact that while there is a desire to reduce costs by accessing shared IT infrastructure, most IT organizations are not sure to what degree they will want to build a private cloud or simply rely in existing public cloud infrastructure. And if they do decide to build a private cloud, they are not sure if they should build that cloud on premise or as a "virtual data center" that resides on top of public cloud infrastructure.

Electric Cloud CEO Mike Maciag says he's pretty certain that the ultimate answer will be all of the above. To facilitate that transition, Electric Cloud today is releasing version 3.8 of ElectricCommander, which can now also be used to manage the application development process in a private cloud running on the customer's premise. As part of that effort, Electric Cloud now has its system integrated with IT automation tools from rPath and systems management software for running private cloud from Eucalyptus Systems.

Initially, most IT organizations will focus their cloud computing strategies around application development, followed quickly by an effort to leverage public cloud services to handle spikes in capacity requirements. Those two moves will eliminate the need for a lot of IT infrastructure that sits idle when no one in the organization is actually using it, although the company still incurs operating costs to manage it.

Further down the road, Maciag expects that cloud computing will routinely become more hybrid with application workload dynamically shifting back and forth between internal and external clouds. Once that happens, however, the distinction between public and private cloud infrastructure will start to fall apart and the term cloud computing itself may simply disappear into the ether. After all, we don't talk much about client/server as a style of computing anymore because it has become the standard way of doing things. So, too, will it be with cloud computing.