Why Public Clouds Could Win in the Enterprise

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Companies — from local booksellers to offsite hosting providers — are fighting to persuade us that their vision of the cloud is the right one, and the only one.

But to be perfectly honest, no one has all the answers yet. Neither we as commentators, nor they as providers, know how the cloud market is going to play out, and the philosophical differences of opinion are important and worthy of airing as we find a set of solutions that makes lasting sense. Labeling a competitor as peddling a “false cloud,” just because it isn’t like yours? That’s as unhelpful to the caller of names as it is to those who are named, as it provides ammunition for those who wish to dismiss any suggestion that a particular cloud is of value.

Regardless of the philosophical distinctions, it seems apparent to me that the recent growth in various types of private clouds must surely be a short-lived phenomenon. Sooner, rather than later, the majority of CIOs deploying private clouds because of security concerns will see sufficient evidence to accept that the public cloud can be just as secure. The CFOs insisting on private clouds so that the capital expenditure on hardware shown on the company accounts is neatly amortized over three to seven years will have written those former assets off. The public cloud is cheaper. At scale, the public cloud has almost infinite scope to cope with the long tail of peculiar requirements — and to charge those edge cases accordingly.

At the end of the day, the public cloud must surely be the most viable way forward for almost every aspect of mainstream enterprise (and SME) computing. The question is whether this inevitable transition takes us two years or 10.

For more of my thoughts on the eventual ascendance of the public cloud, see my latest weekly update on GigaOM Pro (subscription required).

Image courtesy of flickr user Bob B. Brown

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