@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

The Right Cloud for the Growing Enterprise: Take Your Company Private

A private-PaaS-enabled private or hybrid cloud is the best way to deliver the freedom, control, and ROI that enterprise deserves

Remember the early days of the cloud? Outsourced application hosting seemed so...alluring. Public-cloud providers like Google, Heroku, EngineYard and DotCloud seduced us with promises of cost-efficiency, scalability and convenience. Early adopters spun off a few VMs, connected the users and prepared for growth. And when that corporate growth arrived, the public cloud would grow too.

At least that was the vision; yet the reality is more complicated. Public cloud deployment entails hidden costs. Enterprise growth introduces new challenges - challenges like data privacy, security and compliance. Public-cloud infrastructure doesn't scale for business growth. It scales for application growth, and though that's important, it's not enough to support the demands of the (growing) real-world enterprise.

The Public Cloud: It's a Good Thing
Public cloud infrastructure offers relief, relief for IT managers from the headaches of managing their own iron. Virtualization can lift the burden of application-management responsibility, lightening IT load. Public clouds deliver tangible benefits like shared-resource efficiencies, utility computing and scalability.

Those are great benefits for the IT manager seeking a turnkey outsourcing solution. It's an ideal situation: That IT manager hands over the keys to the DevOps kingdom, sits back, and watches the savings accumulate. And they do. To a point...

The hidden costs of the public cloud: language support, app migration, APIs and vendor lock-in
Public cloud offers a chance for IT managers to get out of the hardware management business. That's a compelling message, and a great value proposition. But there are hidden costs to deploying on a public cloud infrastructure, and the real-world enterprise must recognize them (and associated risks) before committing resources to "going public."

How multilingual is your enterprise?
Are you an IT manager? In what languages do your developers like to code? Probably the ones in which they're skilled, and the ones that are appropriate for the types of applications your business needs to create and run. Here's the catch: Most public cloud providers play favorites. That's fine if your apps are all in the right language, or if you're willing to code all-new greenfield apps from scratch in the new language. But what do you do if you have an existing suite of custom apps on which your end users depend, and oh, they were written in several different languages, and oh, your vendor only supports some of them? Expect to retrain your devs, hire for some new skills and recode. IT managers who have been through that process know it's not trivial, nor cheap.

Looking for straightforward SaaS support? Need Office 365 for your desktop clients? Public cloud infrastructure will do the trick. Does your enterprise maintain a suite of legacy applications? Moving to the public cloud introduces a basic practical challenge and another hidden cost: App migration isn't a simple process. Regardless of whether your developers code in your cloud vendor's preferred language(s), if your apps aren't written in them, you'll have to recode or customize, probably to a significant extent.

As long as you're budgeting for recoding, be sure to add a little more for connecting your data and messaging services. If your cloud-hosting provider doesn't support your database, prepare for data migration.

Finally, though public-cloud providers offer hosting and scalability at an attractive (at least as advertised) price, they're understandably out to make a buck. And to hold onto your business. To make the public cloud work, you'll have to adapt to your provider's way of doing things. You may be realizing some great cost-efficiencies, but your hosting provider has you locked in, and switching costs are now a formidable barrier to exit. Remember all that recoding you did for your vendor's benefit? Want to do it again for the sake of moving to another vendor? You've also lost leverage: if your hosting provider decides to raise monthly service charges, or make adjustments to SLA performance, you have little (affordable) recourse.

Enterprise Growth Brings New Opportunities, New Challenges
One of the great advantages to public cloud infrastructure is that it can scale. Vendors often promote that scalability as a way to support customer business growth. But that's not quite accurate: Public clouds don't grow with your enterprise. They scale to support application or traffic growth.

Real-world business growth introduces new demands on enterprise data - concerns like security, data sovereignty, compliance and privacy. Addressing those concerns is an imperative for the real-world enterprise, and not something that can be done in a public-cloud environment.

Your data is safe in the public cloud - most of the time. There are the occasional breaches, some of which receive histrionic publicity. Ultimately, security is peace of mind, and handing your data over to someone else (a public-cloud hosting infrastructure provider, in this example) requires trust and a leap of faith. As your large real-world enterprise experiences growth, data management becomes more important, and releasing your valuable data from under your span of control introduces risk.

How big do you want your enterprise to grow? If you're looking at international expansion, recognize a new risk of the public cloud hosting model: data sovereignty. Public cloud vendors host your data in their own data centers, in the locations your vendor prefers. That's okay if you're doing business in the same jurisdiction. But in many countries, your partners or government administrators can demand that their application servers retain and provide data from physical hardware located within a national boundary. Such inflexible data-sovereignty mandates can limit your ability to serve your subsidiary customers with pure public-cloud architecture.

The more your enterprise grows, the more visible its success becomes. With great success comes greater oversight. Public cloud architectures - with their one-approach-fits-all delivery - are understandably rigid, with standardized tenancy and service models. That makes for basic compliance with government regulations. But by the very nature of its serve-many operations, the public-cloud model can't be flexible enough to adjust to frequently evolving regulatory climates.

More business growth means more data to manage and a need for greater data privacy. But the more data to be managed, the more difficult it becomes to protect it, particularly in a public-cloud environment. We're not talking about cyber-attacks. We're talking about eavesdropping from government authorities. For instance, the USA Patriot Act empowers U.S. federal agencies like the FBI, CIA and Department of Defense to require enterprises to provide data records pertaining to suspected terrorist threats. This applies to data stored in U.S. jurisdictions, including data in the cloud. In the summer of 2011, Microsoft warned customers that the USA Patriot Act could require the company to hand over customer data to United States authorities. Your data's safe, it's just not as private as you'd like it to be.

A Private-Cloud Model Designed Around the Growing Enterprise, Not the Vendor
Public cloud isn't going away, and neither is private cloud. Private cloud technology marketers often lobby for the "pure," host-it-yourself private cloud environment. Public-cloud providers pitch the outsourced service model. The real-world solution lies somewhere in-between. Private PaaS is a flexible middleware layer that puts control of your data back in your own hands, enabling IT management to control applications, whether they're launched on-premise or to public cloud infrastructure.

Public cloud services promise cost savings. But with all the hidden costs, those savings can be temporary (or even illusory). A 2011 study by the Aberdeen Group found that an enterprise deploying private cloud saves twelve percent combined annual costs over a public cloud on a per-application basis. Companies that implemented private clouds also incurred 38 percent fewer costs related to security and compliance events compared to public cloud users. Public cloud users had 25 percent more incidents related to audit deficiencies, data loss, or data exposure and unauthorized access than private cloud users.

Private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) software can bridge the two extremes of public and private cloud. Some enterprises - small businesses and municipalities, for example - will benefit from the "pure" turnkey-outsourced public cloud service model. But the growing enterprise needs more - more security, more privacy, and strict adherence to compliance mandates - than a public-cloud model can support. For some, that will entail self-contained, on-premise iron. But for many growing enterprises, private PaaS can enable a flexible hybrid cloud model that enables data to shift as business priorities evolve. The real-world enterprise demands an operational model that flexible.

Grow Your Business...in Private
There's plenty of hype around the cloud. An IT manager must look beyond the hype to do what's right for the growing enterprise, and recognize that business interests should dictate cloud strategy, not the constraining operational limitations of a public-cloud service provider. The growing enterprise must address concerns of security, privacy, and compliance. A private-PaaS-enabled private or hybrid cloud is the best way to deliver the freedom, control, and ROI that enterprise deserves.

More Stories By Bart Copeland

As President & CEO of ActiveState Software, Bart Copeland brings more than twenty years of management, finance, and technology business experience to his role. With a passion for technologies that help people lead more productive and enjoyable lives, Bart is currently focused on ActiveState’s private platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, Stackato. With his vision for PaaS as an enabler to accelerate cloud adoption and value in enterprises, Bart is actively involved in the strategy, roadmap, business development and evangelism of Stackato. Bart is also an active angel investor and serves as a director on a number of other tech companies. He holds an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of British Columbia.

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
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, 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 online busine...
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, will contrast how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He will show the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He will also have live demos of building immutable pipe...