Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Public Cloud Computing: Enabling the Elastic Enterprise

The private cloud enables elastic computing but the public cloud enables the elastic enterprise

Sometimes the results of a Google search can be most enlightening for what they don't show. 

For instance, I was wondering about the differences between private and public cloud computing in terms the strategic business benefits of each, so I did a Google search that looked like this:

As you can see, that search only returned 24 results, and ten of those were duplicates!   Not only is 14 a surprisingly tiny number, but about half of those were cases where the two phrases happened to occur on the same page with no semantic relationship between them, and the remainder all expressed the same view: "Private cloud computing provides no strategic business benefits".

Is that true?  I think it depends on how one defines "private" and "public".  In my view, cloud computing infrastructure and applications operated within an organization's private network and only made available to its employees, agents and contractors is a private cloud.  Conversely, cloud infrastructure and apps made available through the Internet to an organization's operatives and potentially also shared with its partners and customers is a public cloud.

Given those definitions, both private and public clouds certainly offer a variety of significant common operational and tactical benefits, including lower cost, faster deployment, and improved scalability.  And, the private cloud is often validly sold against the public one on the basis of its often superior control, security and flexibility.

But, what can a private cloud do to directly enhance a business's ability to enter a new market, kill a competitor, or deliver a superior product?  I would have to say, "bupkis".  Private cloud computing makes IT more elastic but it doesn't change how the business functions internally or how it interacts with customers and partners externally.

The public cloud is quite different in this regard.  It is a shared, Internet-based IT context that can make the business itself more elastic by enhancing the richness, flexibility and efficiency of its interaction with customers and partners at all three levels of the cloud - Software, Platform, and Infrastructure.

By using public cloud capabilities like the ones above, companies can, for example,

  • Leverage customer experience for marketing, sales and support
  • Provide inventory and order tracking to their customers and suppliers
  • Jointly pursue larger business opportunities than they could individually
  • Build virtual product and services businesses by combining specialties

The specific capabilities of the public cloud plus its utility-style economic model, public context, third party management, and technology transparency all combine and work together to enable unprecedented business creativity and agility.  Private clouds simply can't do that.

If you are currently looking into how you might use public cloud computing in your business, then you probably already know that there are many, many different vendors and different kinds of offerings in this space.  Some cover very small parts of the spectrum while other aim to cover most or all of it.

For example, Amazon's EC2 is IaaS, offering virtual servers with some system software, while Microsoft Azure offers similar IaaS features, but also adds PaaS features for developing, deploying and managing applications.  Longjump is a pure-play Paas offering, while Google combines its App Engine PaaS with its Google Apps productivity SaaS and Salesforce.com does something similar with its Force.com PaaS layer and its extensible SaaS CRM apps.  And finally, there are many things like Lotus Live, pure cloud-based SaaS apps.

Across the spectrum of different kinds of public cloud software, though, there are several common factors that all prospective buyers should consider carefully before making a commitment:

Security and Compliance

Public cloud environments, like public web sites, can be quite vulnerable to a variety of security threats, including DDoS attacks and various kinds of malware infections.  But, the risk can be compounded by the complexity and scale of some of these services and exacerbated by insufficient security monitoring and response automation.  Also, there are a growing number of regulations governing the security and physical location of sensitive data for which the distributed nature and immaturity of public cloud computing can make compliance a challenge.  Grill prospective vendors on their security and regulatory compliance capabilities.

Assured Service Level

If you use managed hosting, colocation or other types conventional computing and networking services, you know what an SLA is.  A Service Level Agreement is a contract wherein a vendor specifies committed levels of availability, throughput, management oversight, etc. and the remedies and penalties that will apply when those levels are not met.  Many public cloud service providers are not yet offering rigorous and detailed SLAs to their subscribers, and with no SLA, you could end up SOL.

Multi-Party Capabilities

Many public cloud services closely mimic conventional IT and private cloud functionality that assumes a server, database, network address space, application runtime or other element of the service will only be used by a single organization.  Of, if it is to be shared by more than one organization, that will be done at the edges through things like traditional web services.  If you aim to use SaaS groupware for, say, joint R&D, or you intend to build a supply chain database application to be shared by your suppliers and customers, make sure that the services you are considering can accommodate multiple parties in a correct manner, without the need for specialized glue code or exceptional architecture.   Good examples of this being done properly include the "Salesforce to Salesforce" feature of Force.com, which enables different tenants to easily integrate their applications through a straightforward publish-and-subscribe interface, or the rigorous multi-party "deal room" document sharing features of Watchdox.

It is still early days for the public cloud, but its importance cannot be overstated.  It provides a unique pathway to new ways of doing business that transcend the century-old models currently in use and promises to make private computing, like site-based power generators and PBXs, largely a thing of the past, supplanted by ubiquitous, efficient, and affordable utility services that deliver the same advantages to businesses of all sizes around the world.

More Stories By Tim Negris

Tim Negris is SVP, Marketing & Sales at Yottamine Analytics, a pioneering Big Data machine learning software company. He occasionally authors software industry news analysis and insights on Ulitzer.com, is a 25-year technology industry veteran with expertise in software development, database, networking, social media, cloud computing, mobile apps, analytics, and other enabling technologies.

He is recognized for ability to rapidly translate complex technical information and concepts into compelling, actionable knowledge. He is also widely credited with coining the term and co-developing the concept of the “Thin Client” computing model while working for Larry Ellison in the early days of Oracle.

Tim has also held a variety of executive and consulting roles in a numerous start-ups, and several established companies, including Sybase, Oracle, HP, Dell, and IBM. He is a frequent contributor to a number of publications and sites, focusing on technologies and their applications, and has written a number of advanced software applications for social media, video streaming, and music education.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Loom is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning into the entire log analysis process, from start to finish and at the end you will get a human touch,” explained Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President, Marketing at Loom Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...