Look at private clouds as a stepping stone to public clouds: Gartner

When building your private cloud ensure it is flexible enough to allow future public migration, the analsyst firm says

IT managers should consider private clouds as a stepping stone to the public cloud, Gartner has advised.

Speaking at the analyst firm’s Sydney Symposium, analyst Tom Bittman said ongoing questions around security, e-discovery and ownership of data, compliance and the long term viability of providers were mitigating against a large scale move onto the public cloud.

However, given that the next five years would see both a resolution of these issues, and large scale investment in private clouds, consideration needed to be given to a future migration to the public cloud.

“The view is that private cloud is a stepping stone, a tactical investment that says ‘the service I need isn’t there [in the public cloud] yet, but it will be some day’,” he said. “Based on that… I will invest in my own internal private cloud with the idea that when the cost is right, the security issues are resolved , the service levels are there, and the compliance regulations catch up, I’ll migrate to the public cloud.”

In light of this it was critical for IT managers when building their own private cloud services to do so with the idea of flexibility and migration in mind, Bittman said.

“Down the road you do want to have the choice to move to a public cloud offering,” he said. “There are vendors who will want you to build a very proprietary, lock-in architecture – they’ll call it the private cloud – but if it offers you no flexibility for a future move then don’t do it.

"I might migrate slowly in a hybrid mode as in this market you need to be pragmatic and not throw away your investments you’ve already made in your private cloud."

In the interim, the market was likely to see increased use of shared public-private clouds as a pragmatic response to making use of existing IT investments and the benefits of the public cloud, Tom Austin, analyst at Gartner said.

“In between public and private cloud option there is thinking emerging around community clouds – collections of organisations within a similar domain coming together to buy services from a public cloud service provider who will give them a semi-public cloud,” he said.

Examples of this approach could be seen among federal government agencies and educational institutions, Austin said.

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