In Phil Wainewright’s recent column Survival of the fit-most he talks about sharing and collaboration on the Web versus keeping things private. The essence and value of the internet is to make it easy to share information and collaborate. People and businesses benefit most when we collaborate. Many cloud and SaaS providers are providing a private cloud solution for customers who are skittish about moving applications to the cloud. This seems to be a reversal of the benefits of cloud computing and SaaS. If I create a private cloud in my data center using virtualization, is it really a cloud?
The benefits of cloud computing include shared infrastructures, easy connectivity to third parties (people and services), fast adoption and improved mobile access. If I put a cloud behind a firewall and VPN, I negate some of these benefits. If I decide to run Zoho inside my data center, I immediately make it harder to take advantage of 3rd party integrations, mashups and connectivity to my customers. It’s a lot harder to collaborate with customers and suppliers using Microsoft Word inside my firewall than it is using Google Apps. By employing cloud techniques inside my data center, all I do is extpand my private world with different technologies. If you want to virtualize your infrastructure, that’s great and may make a lot of sense, but don’t call it a cloud. I don’t see the difference between a private cloud and a WAN.
The advantage of cloud computing resides in open access to everything on the Web. I use a lot of SaaS applications in my business and get great benefit from them. Pulling these applications inside makes no sense to me. Keeping certain applications behind the firewall makes sense for now, but I will move things into the cloud as resources allow and as applications mature. Going with a private cloud seems like taking two steps back to go one forward.
photo credit Husky