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Why Are Private Clouds Failing?

by Tom Bittman  |  September 12, 2014  |  16 Comments

I recently wrote a research note to explain what we’ve been seeing from our client base. In thousands of interactions, there are very specific patterns for private cloud successes and failures. The top ten reasons (in no particular order) that private clouds are failing are:

  1. cloud failsFocusing Exclusively on Operational Benefits: Thinking private cloud is an internal IT project only.
  2. Building the Wrong Expectations – or None At All: Business case and metrics are key.
  3. Defending IT: Building “private cloud” to protect IT’s turf.
  4. Doing Too Little: Often, private cloud really means virtualization, with maybe some automation
  5. Doing Too Much: Putting in everything including the kitchen sink. Optimized for everything, so it is optimized for nothing.
  6. Focusing Strictly on Infrastructure: VMs are not enough – something’s got to run inside them.
  7. Failure to Change the Operational Model: Jamming cloud into your existing process model and org structure ain’t gonna work.
  8. Failure to Focus on People: Your staff can be your biggest supporters, or your biggest roadblocks. Google the possible etymology of the word “sabotage.”
  9. Failure to Change the Funding Model: When you build a drive-thru service model, you better get paid first.
  10. Using the Wrong Technologies: Choices, choices – what’s tactically right might be strategically wrong.

Category: cloud  future-of-infrastructure  private-cloud  

Tags: cloud-computing  private-cloud  

Thomas J. Bittman
VP Distinguished Analyst
20 years at Gartner
31 years IT industry

Thomas Bittman is a vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner Research. Mr. Bittman has led the industry in areas such as private cloud computing and virtualization. Mr. Bittman invented the term "real-time infrastructure," which has been adopted by major vendors and many… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Why Are Private Clouds Failing?


  1. Max says:

    Global intelligence gathering. People want privacy while private clouds offer none. So people either drop storing anything with internet or stops using the internet alltogether.

  2. […] Why Are Private Clouds Failing?“In thousands of interactions, there are very specific patterns for private cloud successes and failures. The top ten reasons (in no particular order) that private clouds are failing are Focusing Exclusively on Operational Benefits…Building the Wrong Expectations – or None At All…Defending IT…Doing Too Little…Doing Too Much…Focusing Strictly on Infrastructure…Failure to Change the Operational Model…Failure to Focus on People…Failure to Change the Funding Model…Using the Wrong Technologies…” Via Thomas J. Bittman, Gartner  […]

  3. Reasons 4-7 describe why VMs + automation isn’t cutting it:

    4. Doing Too Little: Often, private cloud really means virtualization, with maybe some automation
    5. Doing Too Much: Putting in everything including the kitchen sink. Optimized for everything, so it is optimized for nothing.
    6. Focusing Strictly on Infrastructure: VMs are not enough – something’s got to run inside them.
    7. Failure to Change the Operational Model: Jamming cloud into your existing process model and org structure ain’t gonna work.

    These are all traps organizations fall into if when they decide to use VMs + automation (like chef/puppet/VMware). This route is attractive to customer specifically because it relies heavily on virtualization (#4), it lets anything run inside of it (optimized for nothing – #5), is very infrastructure focused (#6) and doesn’t require changing how you do business (#7). While this will feel more comfortable to customers, it can also lead to failure.

  4. […] about ten reasons why most organization fails to get the most out of their private cloud efforts. Why Are Private Clouds Failing? (Gartner […]

  5. […] 18 years at Gartner, Thomas J. Bittman seems to have a grasp on the marketplace. In his article, “Why are Private Clouds Failing,” he shares the following reasons companies have seen inefficiencies and downfalls in the private […]

  6. […] we again would like to share with you more Gartner research to follow up their article about the ten reasons companies fail in the private cloud, conveniently listed […]

  7. […] See a more in-depth look by Bittman at the problems in private cloud deployments in another blog post here. […]

  8. Terril Retter says:

    Don’t hear as much about failure with public cloud solutions. Is that because they avoid the mistakes of 2, 5,6,7,8,9 or possibly because the majority are implemented without central IT involvement?

  9. Tom Bittman says:

    Terril, that’s a very good question, and definitely worth another post. Let me say this – I’d estimate that about 1/3rd of all VMs being paid for on Amazon, Azure and others are wasted space – unused, badly used, forgotten, zombies, etc. Both private cloud and public cloud require transformation in operational models, culture, usage, business value of IT, etc. Private cloud failures are mainly due to failure to transform operations and usage characteristics – we aren’t really doing “cloud” stuff on this “cloud”. Public cloud usage failures are primarily about failure to apply appropriate governance. Today, most public cloud usage is outside of the purview of traditional IT. And here’s a stat I’m going to repeat in my next blog post – public cloud IaaS was about the same size as private cloud IaaS just three years ago – but has grown to be about SIX TIMES the size of private as of YE14. We’ve got plenty of challenges to solve in both private and public cloud.

  10. […] Are Paying the Price”, June 2014. Private cloud implementations are also subject to failure, see http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_bittman/2014/09/12/why-are-private-clouds-failing/ for several reasons. A lot of money is being spent for no reason at […]

  11. […] Are Paying the Price”, June 2014. Private cloud implementations are also subject to failure, see http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_bittman/2014/09/12/why-are-private-clouds-failing/ for several reasons. A lot of money is being spent for no reason at […]

  12. […] Gartner’s Bittman commented: “jamming cloud into your existing process model and organization structure ain’t gonna […]

  13. […]   As Gartner’s Bittman commented: “jamming cloud into your existing process model and organization structure ain’t gonna […]

  14. […] Last year I presented several very popular sessions at Gartner events around the world entitled “Why Private Clouds Fail”. You can see them on gartnereventsondemand.com if you are a Gartner client, just search for my name. My colleague Tom Bittman has also blogged and published research on this topic, such as Why Are Private Clouds Failing? […]

  15. […] Why are private clouds failing? – thomas bittman […]

  16. […] un post remontant à  septembre 2014, Thomas Bittmann, Vice-Président et Distinguished Analyst du Gartner (tout de même), avait […]



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