by Jeff Kaplan, CEO of Breakthrough Technology Group (www.btgroupinc.com)
If you look at some of the analyst stats on cloud growth, you might be tempted to think that the public cloud is becoming the only viable off-site IT solution. For example, Gartner estimates public cloud virtual machines (VMs) grew 20-fold last year compared to 3-fold growth for private cloud VMs. While it’s undeniable that the public cloud is growing by leaps and bounds and has its strengths (e.g. developers testing new apps over a short period) there are several instances where a private cloud solution is a better — and in some cases the only — way to go. Here are three specific examples where private cloud trumps the public cloud:
- Data Privacy/Security is a Top Concern. Whether a company is governed by industry mandates such as HIPAA (healthcare) or FINRA (banking and finance), or perhaps it has its own internal reasons to safeguard its data, a private cloud offering is the better way to go. Unlike public clouds, private cloud offerings can provide users with dedicated virtual firewalls and computing environments that are virtually — and sometimes even physically — isolated from other companies’ data. Data jurisdiction is another security concern for some companies. They need to know exactly where their data is being stored and specifically that it’s not crossing international borders. Few public cloud providers can make this guarantee, but private cloud providers can.
- When You Want to Get away from Computing Silos. A decade ago companies struggled with the challenges of data redundancy caused by deploying applications with overlapping functionality that weren’t integrated. Today, the public cloud is leading to the same problem with the only difference being where the problem is occurring. Many public cloud offerings focus on a few specific offerings such as CRM, email, or unified communications and if a company wants to push more IT resources to the cloud, it’s forced to purchase the services of multiple cloud providers. Just like in the past, managing data silos is time consuming, costly, and debilitating. Private cloud offerings, on the other hand, which are more geared toward the needs of businesses as opposed to consumers, are more likely to have more comprehensive solutions. Private cloud providers like BTG, for example, offer VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) and/or published applications, server virtualization, unified communications, mobile solutions, and a variety of SaaS services such as Exchange, archiving, and a private cloud based data solution called DataAnyplace that can be accessed securely on any device. Not only can all these services be procured from one provider, equally important is that they can all be completely monitored and managed from a single portal and with a single helpdesk service. This is a significant differentiator among VARs, MSPs, and other IT solution providers that want to help their customers move to the cloud without losing customers in the process. Any VAR who helped a customer migrate its on-premise Exchange Server to the public cloud can attest to this point!
- Customization/Flexibility is Important. Part of the definition of cloud computing is the ability to dynamically scale and contract compute, store, and CPU as needed, but the reality with a lot of multitenant public cloud offerings is that once you’ve committed to a specific platform, infrastructure, and/or application changing that decision is everything but easy. In today’s ever-evolving business environments where new regulations are constantly being introduced combined with mergers, acquisitions, and customer demands IT flexibility is highly important. Because of the way private cloud offerings are configured – with dedicated and isolated environments for each customer and having complete visibility and control over the environment, making changes are much simpler and quicker. For example, if an end customer’s security requirements change, their virtual firewall can be reconfigured almost immediately unlike with a public cloud provider who likely either wouldn’t be able to accommodate the request or would need several weeks’ to make the change.
There is no doubt that your customers will continue migrating their line of business apps to the cloud.
Many solution providers avoid the cloud discussion as they do not have a predictable and secure platform that they are comfortable recommending. This may delay the process, but eventually customers will forge ahead on their own, ultimately preferring to buy capacity instead of products and moving to an OPEX model over the next few years.
In the past IT solution providers, MSPs, VARs and consultants had few choices outside of public cloud offerings, but today that is not the case. Taking the time to find the right private cloud provider who can address the business needs outlined above can go a long way in positioning your company to continue supporting your customers and retaining their business as they transition to the cloud.