I greatly enjoyed … okay, in a professional capacity … the research note by my colleague Tom Bittman titled Five Things That Private Cloud Is Not (access to Gartner required). Without wanting to give away the story, Tom’s note makes it clear that there’s much more to private cloud than just x86 server virtualisation. In fact, it can be argued that virtualisation isn’t a mandatory requirement for private cloud.
In all cases, and at a minimum, x86 server virtualisation and private cloud are not the same thing.
Virtualisation has a limited number of pre-requisites … and most of them are technical. If you can buy, beg, borrow or steal^ the hardware and/or software then you’re on your way. Back in 2008, running my own small business, I was able to setup 2 respectable entry-level brand new brandname Xeon servers running a brandname hypervisor for a little over AU$2,000. Ah, the good old days :-).
In contrast, private cloud has a long list of requirements and most are of the non-technical-harder-to-resolve kind.
Gartner describes five key attributes of cloud computing: service-based, scalable and elastic, shared, metered by use, uses Internet technologies.
It’s up to you if you wish to argue the finer points of the relevance some of these attributes or not (I think we’re way past that point now). Either way, it’s clear these attributes would have implications, for private cloud and the IT organisation, that go well beyond x86 server virtualisation. Tom explored this here, back in 2010.
To succeed in private cloud will require a number of new IT capabilities, including:
It will also require changes in the way IT and business behave.
So what’s changed since 2010? Unfortunately, in regard to private cloud, it seems very little.
I’m currently researching the topic in the context of a research note on enterprise plans for 2013-15. The results will be published sometime in May. So far, I’m left wondering is virtualisation the easy part of private cloud?
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Footnote: ^ I’m not advocating theft. Trust me.
Source: xkcd, used under a Creative Commons license