Blog post

Why Are Private Clouds Failing?

By Tom Bittman | September 12, 2014 | 4 Comments

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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.

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4 Comments

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.