Private cloud computing is rapidly moving up the Gartner hype cycle. In terms of raw market hype, I think we’ll peak late this year. VMware’s “Redwood” won’t be the only announcement – every major infrastructure vendor in the planet will likely put “private cloud” in their announcements, their marketing, their product names.
So before we get too overwhelmed with private cloud computing mania, what’s going to be real, and what isn’t? How will private cloud computing be used?
Just like early virtualization deployments, development and test is the favorite starting point for private cloud computing. Take out the middle-man, and provide a self-service portal for developers to acquire resources. Manage the life cycle of those resources, and return them to the pool when the developer is done. Dev/test is a perfect starting point, because there is a need for rapid provisioning and de-provisioning.
I think the next logical place will be the computing sandbox. This is a place for production workloads that need to be put up quickly – a stand-alone web server, a short-running computational task, a pilot project. “I need it NOW.”
The sandbox will especially be the place to put a workload prior to full production deployment internally, but when it needs to go up fast – and when external deployment (in the “public cloud”) isn’t appropriate for one reason or another.
Sandboxes can have different operational rules than normal production workloads. For example, perhaps it is a short-term “lease” and expires after thirty days. Perhaps the software is never maintained or patched during that window. Perhaps there is no backup or disaster recovery in place for those workloads. Perhaps security coverage is limited.
While a workload is running in a sandbox, the administrivia required to get appropriate approvals and fulfill organizational process requirements can be finished in parallel.
Ideally, after some period of time (like at the end of a thirty day lease), there might be a way to move the workload from the sandbox to full production, with all of the service level requirements in place.
Many large organizations will start with dev/test first, and build a sandbox next. I believe for many organizations the sandbox itself will mature and become a broader and more capable private cloud service. But there’s no rush.