SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Courtney Abud

Blog Feed Post

It’s War: Public vs. Private

(UPDATED: Added link to Adrian’s blog where he expands on his twitter question)

I have been asked this question a couple of times in a couple of days, so that always warrants a blog post.

The question first came up in a webinar I did with rackspace last week, it featured in regular conversation at Cloud Connect and then again on twitter from Adrian Cockcroft. The questions is framed like;

  • “There is no technical reason for private cloud, its all $, FUD, and internal politics. Discuss.” – Adrian Cockcroft,
  • Do you think there is a need for private clouds (vs. public)?

Important to note we are not talking whether they should run on a cloud. This argument only applies to applications & workloads that have already been determined to be a good fit for cloud.

The latter two are fairly easy to understand because they relate to the diversity organization requirements unable to be serviced by a commodity service, or the natural inertia of organizations to adopt new methods. The arguments cover a range of topics, including;

  • trust,
  • service level agreements,
  • security needs,
  • migration costs,
  • and many more.

The more meaty argument is Adrian’s. Is there any “technical reasons” for not running on public cloud? This challenges us to try and determine if there are architectural patterns that public clouds cannot provide.

So, Adrian is royalty in cloud (I prefer royalty because it reflects respect for his achievement and position, vs. clouderati which reflects some sort of enlightenment), but his question is a little sensational. First of all it is so broad, it’s difficult to support or refute. Secondly, it encompasses the future, for which anything is possible. He blogs in more detail here.

But here is my logic. Public clouds are designed on one basic premise that differentiate them from a private cloud, “Economies of Scale”. Having enough workload running in a multi-tenancy environment will balance out noise in the elasticity of workload and also drive down costs for the operation of the infrastructure. So for a private cloud to exist technically, it needs;

  • enough volume to have economies of scale internally,
  • workload elasticity to warrant a cloud,
  • a specific technical requirement that does not warrant economies of scale publically,

So, I am an architectural pragmatist. Sometimes the cloud debate gets a bit more religious and I feel more like an atheist or a nialist. I do believe that infrastructure (compute, storage, network & operating systems) and the workloads it is able to support are sufficiently complex to represent a distribution curve of requirements. The amount that can be served by public clouds represents the meat in the middle of the curve. This curve might have an extremely narrow peak, but the tails still exist.

The argument will be that there are many different public clouds, and they can service a wide range of technical requirements, but I still believe that the underlying architecture patterns are complex enough to reveal patterns that cannot be provided in volume.

The other issue I have with economies of scale solutions is they inherently develop lowest common denominator architecture. The non-technical aspects of public clouds limit their ability to solve for all workloads.

In closing, I will try and give examples of workloads that need private clouds:

  1. Slot machine gaming software – very elastic workload with very specific technical requirements for security, auditability and physical machine interface. I cannot see this be a public cloud.
  2. Online gaming – take a large facebook based games company. Lots of elastic workloads, but very close correlation architecturally to each other. They have the economies of scale alone to get the benefits of efficient operations. I can see them developing a private cloud that is optimized for their technical requirements and provides high degrees of automation to get better efficiencies than a public cloud.

What do you think?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Brad Vaughan

Brad Vaughan is a twenty year veteran consultant working with companies around the globe to transform technology infrastructure to deliver enhanced business services.

Latest Stories
Using serverless computing has a number of obvious benefits over traditional application infrastructure - you pay only for what you use, scale up or down immediately to match supply with demand, and avoid operating any server infrastructure at all. However, implementing maintainable and scalable applications using serverless computing services like AWS Lambda poses a number of challenges. The absence of long-lived, user-managed servers means that states cannot be maintained by the service. Lo...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Here to help unpack insights into the new era of using containers to gain ease with multi-cloud deployments are our panelists: Matt Baldwin, Founder and CEO at StackPointCloud, based in Seattle; Nic Jackson, Developer Advocate at HashiCorp, based in San Francisco, and Reynold Harbin, Director of Product Marketing at DigitalOcean, based in New York. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Using serverless computing has a number of obvious benefits over traditional application infrastructure - you pay only for what you use, scale up or down immediately to match supply with demand, and avoid operating any server infrastructure at all. However, implementing maintainable and scalable applications using serverless computing services like AWS Lambda poses a number of challenges. The absence of long-lived, user-managed servers means that states cannot be maintained by the service. Lo...
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
Take advantage of autoscaling, and high availability for Kubernetes with no worry about infrastructure. Be the Rockstar and avoid all the hurdles of deploying Kubernetes. So Why not take Heat and automate the setup of your Kubernetes cluster? Why not give project owners a Heat Stack to deploy Kubernetes whenever they want to? Hoping to share how anyone can use Heat to deploy Kubernetes on OpenStack and customize to their liking. This is a tried and true method that I've used on my OpenSta...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
10ZiG Technology is a leading provider of endpoints for a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure environment. Our fast and reliable hardware is VMware, Citrix and Microsoft ready and designed to handle all ranges of usage - from task-based to sophisticated CAD/CAM users. 10ZiG prides itself in being one of the only companies whose sole focus is in Thin Clients and Zero Clients for VDI. This focus allows us to provide a truly unique level of personal service and customization that is a rare find in th...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, will discuss how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galer...
Emil Sayegh is an early pioneer of cloud computing and is recognized as one of the industry's true veterans. A cloud visionary, he is credited with launching and leading the cloud computing and hosting businesses for HP, Rackspace, and Codero. Emil built the Rackspace cloud business while serving as the company's GM of the Cloud Computing Division. Earlier at Rackspace he served as VP of the Product Group and launched the company's private cloud and hosted exchange services. He later moved o...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
92% of enterprises are using the public cloud today. As a result, simply being in the cloud is no longer enough to remain competitive. The benefit of reduced costs has normalized while the market forces are demanding more innovation at faster release cycles. Enter Cloud Native! Cloud Native enables a microservices driven architecture. The shift from monolithic to microservices yields a lot of benefits - but if not done right - can quickly outweigh the benefits. The effort required in monitoring,...
Signs of a shift in the usage of public clouds are everywhere. Previously, as organizations outgrew old IT methods, the natural answer was to try the public cloud approach; however, the public platform alone is not a complete solution. Complaints include unpredictable/escalating costs and mounting security concerns in the public cloud. Ultimately, public cloud adoption can ultimately mean a shift of IT pains instead of a resolution. That's why the move to hybrid, custom, and multi-cloud will ...
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.