“Private cloud is like a summer home, while the public cloud is a hotel.” – Part 1
This is something I said during a recent Twitter chat on 12 April focusing on the interactions between the public and private clouds, and how converged clouds may be the solution to several associated problems (the conversations are viewable on Twitter under the #convcloud hashtag and the resultant article is: “Waiting for cloud standards is like Waiting for Godot” ). In this article, I will explain why I said what I said.
Let’s compare a summer home and a hotel on different parameters. As for the inevitable question why I referred to the private cloud as a “summer home” and not just “home,” I would say that traditional IT is more deserving of that title. Cloud computing, being a new technology requiring additional investment, deserves to be treated slightly differently.
Coming back to the parameters, here’s what I feel:
A summer home has a single owner and resident (with of course, the family). However, a hotel caters to multiple customers. In the same way, a private cloud is used by a single organization whereas a public cloud is multi-tenant.
The owner of a summer home has control over his immediate surroundings. He can decide what the furniture will be, what kind of lighting to use and who should enter the house. However, an occupant at a hotel has to choose from among the options offered by the management. Also, he has no right to determine the entry of other people into the hotel.
Similarly, on a private cloud, the organization can determine what hardware and software to use. It can also control who can access the cloud, and what will be the level of access. However, on a private cloud, each client has control over its own data and applications. It cannot dictate which other organizations can sign up or not. Unless specified in the contract, it cannot specify where its data will be stored geographically (See: Computing Without Borders – What Works, What Doesn’t).
The owner of a summer home, very much like the owner of a private cloud, has to take care of all administrative tasks. However, the occupant of a hotel, like a public cloud customer, can offload this responsibility to the service provider.
Additionally, the homeowner has to pay for improvements to the property, say different electrical implements that reduce electricity consumption. A hotel does it on its own to save itself money, and may pass on part of the savings to customers. Similarly, a private cloud owner has to pay for improvements, which, given the pace of technological progress, may be more frequent than usual. The public cloud user, on the other hand, does not have to concern itself with such matters which are addressed by the service provider.
In the concluding part of this article, I will present some other parameters which I feel will strengthen this comparison.
By Sourya Biswas
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