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By Michael Neubarth
Ever since the idea of a "private cloud" was introduced, there has been a backlash against the concept, including contention about whether a private cloud is really a cloud.
Among the critics is Andrew Conry-Murray, who in a blog entitled "There's No Such Thing As a Private Cloud" on InformationWeek.com on January 9, 2009, wrote: "I think I'm getting into a religious debate here, but I don't think the notion of a private cloud makes any sense. In my mind, a key component of the definition of a cloud is that you, the enterprise, don't have to host and run the infrastructure. All that stuff is supposed to be out of your hands."
Of like mind is ZapThink analyst Ronald Schmelzer, who on zapthink.com on January 6, 2010, wrote: "Private clouds? Baloney. That's like trying to stop tectonic shift. The future of IT is outside the enterprise. Deal with it."
Private cloud detractors tend to believe that a cloud can only be an externally accessed service. Thus, an internal cloud is by definition a contradiction, an oxymoron.
For example, InfoWorld's Eric Knorr in "Has Cloud Computing Jumped the Shark?" on January 15, 2009, says he believes that only external services should be considered clouds. Distrusting the promises being made for the private cloud, he writes that:
"Fantasies of hyperautomated, self-organizing IT have been around for decades. Don't get me wrong: I see the value of many of these ideas and technologies, particularly SOA and virtualization when they're done right. But my eyes start to cross when I hear about turning IT into a 'private cloud' that delivers cloud services to the business. Yeah, maybe for a few applications that need grid-like architecture, but the whole ball of wax? Tell me another one."
P Laudenslager in "Private Clouds Are an Oxymoron" on plaudenslager.wordpress.com August 26, 2009, says the trouble with the idea of private clouds is that "almost all of the flexibility, scalability, and efficiency in cloud offerings come from sharing the load with other customers."
For example, he says, "any business has to build for peak capacity, but can only easily monetize the average utilization. But a public cloud vendor can share the cost of the excess capacity across all the customers, lower the cost of that inefficiency for everyone."
A private cloud, says Laudenslager, "must, by definition build (and pay for) peak capacity, and bear the cost of that inefficiency alone."
Just Not a Cloud
Conry-Murray, while conceding that virtualized products might have merit in datacenters, ultimately concludes that, "if you're building all this architecture inside your own data center, and running it yourself, it's not a cloud solution."
Likewise, says P Laudenslager on his blog: "I suppose that the tools and technologies that enable cloud computing can be applied to private data centers to improve operational efficiency, and make the IT staff more responsive to business unit requests, but it seems too much to call this a private cloud. I am all for making your internal operations be more flexible, but using these technologies internally and calling it a private cloud is like drinking alone and calling it a private party."