Balancing The Cloud

In a previous post we talked about how ICT departments should evolve to cloud service desks. These cloud service desks would preselect cloud services on suitability, interoperability, compliance, and security. They would present an approved cloud services menu to business users to choose from. We have now updated the model we base this on and want to share this with our readers in this short post. There is much discussion on the web about cloud definitions and whether private clouds are really clouds. Highlighting multi-tenancy and operational choices in our balanced IT architecture and operations model now presents a clearer view of what these terminologies really mean (see figure below).

In our balanced model private cloud does not include all cloud traits, but is cloud-like in the sense that it is on-demand, virtual, and automated but not multi-tenant. Our balanced model presents architectural and operational sliding scale axis rather than fixed positions. We believe this serves to clarify the cloud definition confusion. Please let us know what you think. Do you agree? What would you change?

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About Pim Bilderbeek

6 Responses to “Balancing The Cloud”

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  1. Puni Rajah says:

    Pim, this is certainly more evolved than most of the generally touted definitions thus far. Good work.

    From a large enterprise’s perspective, there is a critical dimension that might be tough to depict – the transition path. I’ve seen infrastructure teams take one approach (e.g. outsourcing to private cloud), while their development colleagues pursue different options (e.g. legacy to public cloud for testing). In one instance, HR halted a BPO evaluation to consider HR-as-a-service while sales reversed from a cloud provider to an in-house “app store” (citing escalating costs as the main driver for the reversal).

    How’s that for a visualisation challenge?

  2. Puni, thanks for your comments, much appreciated. Your transition path observation is exactly the kind of thinking this visualisation aims to provoke. While in the long term enterprise IT will gravitate towards public cloud, on the way there will be a lot of movement from private to public and from DIY to as-a-service and back again. As you point out, a single enterprise might have outsourced client device operations, get HR and mail from cloud services, have ERP as on-premise legacy, and move a datacenter into the private cloud space.

    From a research architecture perspective I plan to use this visualisation for mapping IT areas. I believe it would be useful for an enterprise to map their IT areas on to this as a big picture view of their IT landscape. Similarly I would map IT vendor solutions. Stay tuned!


  3. Hi Pim

    I have been reading your recent work with interest. Great stuff.

    I’ve been itching to respond to this particular entry and you can probably predict what I will say but I’ll say it anyway.

    Although conceptually, for some organisations, this view of cloud computing makes perfect sense, it does not make sense to me, simply because it uses the term, private cloud. I would use a term like virtualised data centre, instead because this is what it is. Who is going to build a data centre today that does not have the characteristics that you describe in your ‘private cloud’ quadrant? Nobody will build one using yesterday’s technology that falls into your ‘legacy IT’ quadrant.

    As you point out, organisations are basically moving to a utility model of computing, where possible, that is commonly described as the public cloud. I would prefer to simply call this cloud computing and focus on this rather than the private stuff because the private stuff clouds the issue (excuse the pun) and the term private cloud is an oxymoron.

    Cloud computing by its very nature, is shared and public and this is what makes it so interesting. I’ll use this as an opportunity to plug a couple of my recent blog entries which elaborate on the points that I make.



  4. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your comment, much appreciated! I understand your problem with the private cloud terminology. Rather than fight against the vendor “klout” that is marketing private cloud, I want to show what private cloud actually is, and how it relates to other computing environments, hence my balancing the cloud graph, which clearly puts it into the private infrastructure, private operations quadrant. I fully understand your opinion that this should not be called cloud, but at least it is called private cloud! A rose by any other name, etc..


  5. Sure, I’ve had to use the term on occasions too. I often use the term shared services centre instead of private cloud. It sometimes works.

    One of the problems with the term private cloud and the vendor marketing is that the term is used very broadly. It is sometimes used to describe an internal shared services centre that is built and managed internally. It is sometimes used to describe a shared services centre that is managed by a third party on behalf of just one client. It is sometimes used to describe IaaS where although customers share infrastructure, they have their own customised applications residing on it.

    Although we can put a stake in the ground to define a private cloud, the vendor marketing fluff will keep shape shifting.



  6. Hi Pim,

    That is a good viewpoint as we know that there are certain issues that cloud services is facing on. I now acquired full understanding about balancing the cloud.