Is Private Cloud Dead?


In previous blogs, I’ve covered topics including are private clouds cost effective or cost prohibitive, as well as are they just too complicated to bother with. This blog is going to look at if private cloud is a dying technology, and if not, why organisations should choose a private cloud. For no other reason than just because I can, I’m going to pepper this blog with Star Trek references. If you’re more of a Star Wars fan, then feel free to ignore the references! Who knows, maybe Star Wars will make it into a future blog…

He’s dead, Jim?

A commonly heard phrase within the original series of Star Trek (aka Star Trek TOS), uttered by the normally unflappable and perpetually grumpy medic on board the USS Enterprise – Dr Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Usually referring to the untimely passing of a “red shirt” – i.e. a lower ranking member of the crew.

In this case though, we’re talking about private clouds, so it should really read “it’s dead, Jim?” Are dedicated private cloud infrastructures in datacentres (such as OpenStack) dead? Has private cloud’s pulse started to flutter and fade? Is it time to call a priest to read OpenStack the last rites? In a word, no. Some naysayers in the industry insist that private cloud, and specifically OpenStack are a dying technology. A previous SUSE blog also addressed this concern, but here at SUSE we are firmly of the opinion that private cloud and OpenStack are both alive, kicking and continuing to grow.

It’s highly illogical

Another phrase fondly remembered from Star Trek TOS, this one came from the half-Vulcan, half-human science officer, Mr Spock. Brought to life by the legendary Leonard Nimoy, Spock was the voice of reason among the crew of the Enterprise. Coldly dissecting quandaries, Spock would question emotional responses from those around him and often refer to them as “highly illogical”.

It’s fair to say that the bulk of information available to us in the public domain seems to show that the private cloud is here to stay, and that OpenStack in particular continues to grow in revenue and usage.

Respected industry analysts 451 Research regularly publish their predictions around growth of OpenStack. Their November 2017 press release “OpenStack private cloud revenue to overtake its public cloud revenue in 2018” estimates a 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% between 2016-2021, and they foresee a global revenue exceeding $6.5bn in 2021. From zero to hero (or at least $6.5bn) in 11 years is a pretty good growth rate for any technology, so I think that the claim of OpenStack dying out definitely comes under the heading of “highly illogical”.

Live long and prosper

Another well-loved phrase from Science Officer Spock, the traditional blessing of the Vulcan people (which was actually based on Orthodox Jewish blessings that the actor Leonard Nimoy remembered from his childhood) was generally used when bidding farewell to someone. However, looking at the results of IDC’s Cloud Repatriation Accelerates in a Multicloud World survey, this really could refer to private cloud.

The survey focused on organisations’ cloud adoption, and revealed some really interesting figures. The repatriation of the survey title refers to customers migrating workloads from public clouds to private clouds. 80% of survey respondents reported some cloud repatriation activities, estimating that 50% of their public cloud applications will move to a private cloud, hosted private cloud or non-cloud environment in the next two years. What’s really interesting though, is to see the drivers behind this repatriation – 19% stated security, 14% performance, 12% cost, 12% control and 11% to centralise or reduce Shadow IT. All very real concerns to every enterprise today, and very valid reasons to move to a private cloud environment.

Obviously, this isn’t to say that public cloud is in any way slowing down or starting to decrease in usage. The rate at which Amazon Web Services innovates and adds new products while continuing to enhance existing products is staggering, and they’re not alone. Microsoft and SUSE have been collaborating for some time already, and recently announced the first enterprise Linux kernel that has been optimised for Microsoft Azure. Google and Alibaba are also innovating like there is no tomorrow; increasing their cloud share, not to mention capturing the hearts and minds of developers around the world. With each advancement of public cloud, more use cases are opened up.

Resistance is futile

I’m sure that some Star Trek purists will be cursing me for including a Star Trek: The Next Generation (aka Star Trek TNG) phrase here, but I grew up (not literally, sadly) with Captain Picard and crew, and even had the pleasure of interviewing Gates McFadden, the actress who played Dr Beverley Crusher, at the premiere of one of the Star Trek films in a previous life (still one of the highlights of my professional career!). This intimidating phrase came from the Borg – the robotic aliens who seemed impossible to defeat. Able to adapt to and assimilate any technology they encountered, they repeated this phrase to all they encountered.

In this case, resisting the advance of private cloud may be futile for many, if not all enterprises. If you have valuable data (and let’s face it, who doesn’t these days?), are concerned about security, are subject to regulatory compliance (GDPR, anyone?), are looking to reign in your costs, regain control over your IT, centralise IT and/or reduce Shadow IT within your organisation, then private cloud could be the right solution for you. Public cloud is still an option for many workloads, but there are times when you will want or need to bring workloads into your own data centre to ensure full control and security over them.

To boldly go…

If you want to read more about private cloud, then have a look at our Cloud Solutions page for some useful information. Private cloud is by no means a trailblazing new technology, so you won’t be the first to move to private cloud, but you also won’t be the last to boldly go where plenty of other enterprises have gone before.

Are you a Star Trek fan? Which series was your favourite – TOS, TNG, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise or Discovery? Let me know through the comments, or via Twitter. Personally, TNG was a favourite, and I was very pleased to see Patrick Stewart’s recent announcement that he will return to his iconic role of Captain Jean Luc Picard – what did you think?!

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No comments yet

Avatar photo
Matthew Johns I have over 20 years' experience in the IT, cloud and hosting industry gained in a variety of roles spanning project management to product release and product marketing. I’m responsible for product marketing for SUSE OpenStack Cloud, and have been working with OpenStack since it was released in 2010. Outside of work, I enjoy running, cycling, great beer (craft, cask, keg - call it what you like as long as it tastes good), spending time with my family, playing the piano and charity fundraising – I’ve been supporting the Movember Foundation since 2006, and have run multiple races, climbed mountains and cycled around the UK for many charities over the years.