Public, Private, Hybrid, Whatever… - Executive Viewpoint 2013 Prediction: Nimbula

By Jay Judkowitz (Profile)
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Friday, January 18th 2013
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2013 will be a year when the industry goes beyond the public/private cloud debate and focuses instead on the question of whether a given IT infrastructure is implemented with a cloud model or a legacy model.

Cloud infrastructure is marked by:

  • API-driven self-service
  • Massive aggregation
  • Elasticity
  • Showback / chargeback
  • Drastic opex reductions

Not all customers will buy into cloud in 2013, but increasingly, those who do will be looking for the cloud effect on their applications, users, data, and operations, rather than worrying about who is providing the service.

The cloud service providers start the year with the advantage, providing all these characteristics as a part of their services. But, over the course of 2013, between the private cloud software available to IT and the hybrid cloud management software that has followed, enterprise developers and IT staff will be able to choose between public and private cloud on a case by case basis and manage the whole cloud as a single pool of resources.

That single pool will be divided into different classes via policy rather than explicit designation of provider / equipment owner. Some of the policies people will think about will be geography (due to latency from customers and/or regulatory needs), SLA, cost per unit, QOS, and DR properties.

What has to happen to make this reality come to pass:

  • On the private side, infrastructure will become more cloud-like – either through the adoption of newer cloud platform software or through the evolution of legacy virtualization management products – both of which will gradually happen.
  • On the public side, adoption of the current software needs to grow.  This will come from the increasing inclusion of features enterprise cares about such as guaranteed service levels, tighter network isolation, encryption, and continued history of superior uptime.  In some cases, it may also take legal/regulatory changes or official blessing in the form of recognized certifications.

How will we know this has gradual shift come to pass:

  • When we see more business news stories about a great business success inside or outside technology where elastic, self-service/API-driven IT is credited for part of the success, we will know that cloud infrastructure is making a difference.
  • When individual CIOs learn and come to grips with the fact that with or without their blessing that public resources have been mixed in with private resources and that the world and acknowledge this core part of their strategy in industry surveys.
  • The ultimate validation will be when the first new story comes out about an IT disaster that effects customers of some business and the author of the article asks the question of why public cloud was not used as a part of the solution to remove private operations as a single point of failure after comparing the uptime of private infrastructure relative to public clouds.

When these things come to pass, we will know for certain that cloud is widely adopted as an architecture and that IT leaders are expected to leverage both the public and private segments of the cloud and to have financial and technological mastery over both.