Private Cloud Computing: An Essential Overview

By Kent Christensen, Practice Director

I just wrapped up a three-city seminar series with customers and partners regarding virtual data centers and how they intersect with cloud (private or public) computing. When in group settings such as these, I typically conduct an informal poll by asking attendees if they have a  "cloud initiative" within their organization. While non-statistically sound, I am seeing a significant uptick in the last six to 12 months. In late 2009, only one or two organizations had a cloud initiative in play. Of late, a full third to half of the audience has a cloud initiative underway.

While I get to meet with hundreds of IT professionals, Gartner has the luxury of meeting with thousands. Their research is showing that private cloud computing is a hot trend with strong potential, and most enterprises will pursue it in one way or another. With so much emphasis on cloud computing, many are in the midst of deciphering what cloud computing means to their organizations, as well as how to get started.

I came across an excellent research report by Gartner Analyst Thomas J. Bittman that provides a good overview of cloud computing. The report, “Private Cloud Computing: An Essential Overview” (23 November 2010), illustrates some of the major considerations and takeaways for organizations thinking about migrating to private cloud computing, including these key findings:

  • Private cloud computing can come in many different forms, and is not necessarily on-premises, insourced or based on virtual machines.
  • Technology is often the easiest part of private cloud computing - culture, politics, process and funding are all much harder.
  • Many enterprises (especially midmarket) will build partial, but "good enough," private cloud solutions based on their requirements.
  • The private cloud market will be very dynamic and notable for acquisitions during the next few years.