Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Rachel A. Dines, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Frank Huerta, Pieter Van Heck

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization

Cloud Expo: 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.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
All too many discussions about DevOps conclude that the solution is an all-purpose player: developer and operations guru, complete with pager for round-the-clock duty. For most organizations that is not the way forward. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Golden, Vice President of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss how to achieve the agility and speed of end-to-end automation without requiring an organization stocked with Supermen and Superwomen.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver data in a meaningful way, one that really delivers on what end-users need to maintain a competitive position in fast-changing markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research's network of 200+ independent analysts provides new content daily that bridges the gap between breaking news and long-range research.
“The Internet of Things is a wave that has arrived and it’s growing really fast. The concern at Aria Systems is making sure that people understand the ramifications of their attempts to monetize whatever it is they build on the Internet of Things," explained C Brendan O’Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect at Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
“About two years ago Brother launched a new group called Brother Online. We thought it was a good idea for a hardware company to get into the cloud services market and our first step into that market was web conferencing,” explained Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"So many teams have been stuck in their own practices for the last ten years and it's really hard to sell all the latest and greatest tools, but the reality is all the tools around operations have evolved so much you are starting to see a big shift toward upgrading that tool set, focusing more on automation, more on cloud," explained Dustin Whittle, Developer Evangelist at AppDynamics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the DevOps Summit, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City.
“We provide disaster recovery services as well as solutions. We also provide back-up solutions that work across your internal on-premise assets as well as in the public and private cloud," stated Joel Ferman, Vice President of Marketing at InMage Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo® (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com/), held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Harbinger Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Harbinger Systems is a global company providing software technology services. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide. Its customers include software product companies ranging from hi-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley to leading product companies in the US and large in-house IT organizations.
“Distrix fits into the overall cloud and IoT model around software-defined networking. There’s a broad category around software-defined networking that’s focused on data center, and we focus on the WAN,” explained Jay Friedman, President of Distrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
“Dell Cloud Manager is a cloud management environment for the consumption of cloud resources and we provide a consistent interface, both in terms of API and in terms of user interface for doing a wide variety of activities core to deploying and operating software in cloud," explained James Urquhart, Technologist & Director of Cloud Management Solutions at Dell, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.