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Public versus Private Cloud Not Worth Debating


August 12, 2010 8:18 am





As I was perusing my Twitter stream the other night, I was surprised to find a post regarding a public versus private cloud-computing debate. It seemed silly to me. As I wrote to one of my Twitter friends, it’s not as though the two are mutually exclusive. In some instances, your company will opt for a public cloud, in others private, and in many cases likely both side by side. Why can’t we just get along?

Private Clouds Require Investment

The private cloud ensures your company is in control of your own data, but it requires you to invest in the hardware infrastructure to set up the internal cloud. For some organizations, that will be a burden that’s too great. For others, they may opt to do it for some of their data but not for everything.

Let’s face it, building your own data center is not a trivial matter. It requires a substantial investment in hardware and software. It also involves a change in mindset where your IT department becomes like a public cloud provider inside your organization, offering services for a fee to your user-customers.

Not every company can or will want to go all in on a private cloud strategy. You have to analyze the costs and benefits for your organization. It will not always fall clearly on one side of the debate or the other and why should it?

Public Clouds Require Element of Trust

Some organizations feel their data is too sensitive to trust to the public cloud. Whether that’s a legitimate concern probably depends on the cloud vendor and the extent to which your company has researched potential stumbling blocks. For many companies, especially small to medium sized ones (SMBs) concerned with cost, building a data center is probably not even an option. For these companies, the cloud offers a reasonable alternative to trying to build their own IT department, but even in these cases, it’s likely not a one-size-fits-all argument. Some may opt for a private solution because it’s worth it to them and their business model.

Why Not Do Both?

When it comes down to though, it really depends on the job, the size of your company, how sensitive the data is and of course cost, which is always going to be a huge factor. There will be times you want to go private and other times when it will make sense to go public.

The fact is there are going to be times where you want to have both models existing together side by side and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s time to stop bickering over absolutes and get beyond shallow debate to find the solutions that work best for you.

Chances are the cloud–whether public, private or a combination–is going to have a place in your company at some point in the not too distant future (if doesn’t already), so let’s get past the smoke screens and the silly debates and have a reasoned discussion about the best approaches for any given technology challenge.

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