Cloud Computing

Why the retreat from the public cloud?

This is a contributed piece  Dhiraj Sehgal, Director of Product Marketing, Tintri

While there has been a lot of hype about cloud, it is probably fair to say we are still in the early stages of the great cloud rush. But momentum is building. A recent IDC survey of 600 enterprises found that 85% were implementing or planning to implement multi-cloud strategies to optimise the performance of their applications on-premises, in public cloud services and on legacy systems. Three-quarters were planning to use between two and five clouds over the next two years.

Many companies that have invested in cloud were initially happy to opt for public cloud as part of their cloud strategy. There were a number of reasons for favouring public cloud over private cloud. Chief among them was the belief that public cloud was cheaper because it didn’t require them to make a capital investment.

But there are many hidden costs that only emerge once a company begins the migration process. Applications may need to be reconfigured and recoded. Storage costs can rise significantly if an organisation needs to accommodate unforeseen data growth. Network bandwidth is another concern – a workload on-premises uses free network bandwidth in the data centre, but that bandwidth costs money on the public cloud.

Additionally, there’s the financial and reputational cost and the disruption caused by outages to public clouds that, unlike failures in on-premises data centres, are beyond the control of any enterprise. Amazon and Microsoft have both suffered high profile outages that prevented customers from accessing data and applications held on the AWS and Azure platforms.

There are signs that many companies are beginning to have second thoughts over their initial enthusiasm for public cloud. Recent research found that more than 80% of organisations have moved some compute and storage services out of public cloud over the last 12 months. Why?

One of the biggest lessons organisations have learned from their early ventures onto public cloud is that cloud is not about where you deliver IT services from but about how you deliver them. Each type of cloud has its own advantages and disadvantages. While the public cloud delivers agility and scale rapidly and without significant initial outlay, it also results in a loss of control over costs, performance and the resilience of the platform the data is stored on.

Private cloud, on the other hand, might require a higher initial investment but it can offer more predictable costs in the long run. It gives the enterprise far more control over the data and the platform it runs on. In the event of failure, the organisation has much greater control and ownership of the recovery process than it does with public cloud where it has to wait, passively and helplessly, for the public cloud provider to fix the problem.


Enterprise needs an enterprise cloud

What many organisations are looking for now is a mixture of public and private cloud or, as it has become more commonly known, hybrid cloud. In theory, this enables them to make use of public cloud for those workloads that benefit most from its agility and scale while maintaining control of workloads and data that are too valuable to entrust to other providers and is better retained on-premises.

For many enterprises, the best way to navigate to the cloud would be to marry the performance, control and management of their own data centres with the agility and scale of public cloud. This would enable them to build and run agile environments for cloud-native and mission critical applications in their own data centres.

Given that IDC found 75% of organisations were planning to implement multi-clouds in the near future, the capability to connect to public cloud services, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM Object Cloud Storage, to create multi-cloud services would be a welcome development for many.

The ability to create an enterprise cloud built on public cloud-like web services would give organisations the ability to easily assemble, manage and scale new applications but without the risks and loss of control associated with public cloud. Enterprises could implement the orchestration and automation associated with public cloud in their on-premises data centres.

They would also retain control and visibility of the management of their data and applications using tools of their own choosing rather than rely on a third party to handle that process. In addition, if they choose the right tools, they would have access to analytics that enable them to predict their entire resource needs for storage and compute far more effectively and accurately than if they entrusted some of those resources to a public cloud provider.

Organisations need the control over cost and performance that they have become accustomed to within their own data centres but they also need to be able to benefit from the agility and scale that cloud can deliver. Public cloud is only part of the solution. In the end, if you’re taking the enterprise to the cloud, you need an enterprise cloud.


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