Plenty of companies out there are building private clouds – or things they would like to call private clouds. As I lamented last week, the term cloud has lost so much meaning that I’m not sure a semantic discussion has any value anyways. But, our friends at Gartner have written a recent set of blogs on the failure of those private clouds, and their conclusions piqued my interest.
19 percent of respondents apparently were “doing too little.” Their private cloud, in other words, was glorified virtualization. Why? Likely culprits are usually lack of true end-user self-service or lack of a chargeback model. But, let’s explore this “too little” business.
If glorified virtualization is working for you… why is that not enough? While I love an arbitrary external standard, can we not accept that “You do You” is equally viable as an IT and personal philosophy. So many companies haven’t the user population ready to spin up workloads. And others recognize that shifting the financial model of IT is a large-scale change well beyond their bailiwick. It’s wonderful to keep striving – we all should – but let’s not denigrate the strides we’ve made in the interim.
Of the rest, many strike me as similar challenges: there are certain changes which are hard to make on your own. In life, there is a reason why so many roles require external intervention. Personal trainers, dieticians, medical professionals, dog trainers, and drill sergeants all exist because people find it challenging to treat themselves in a certain way. If we all had all the self-motivation and objectivity in the world, no one would hire a psychologist to help work through their grief, hire a trainer to shed the weight or see a doctor to evaluate a mole. But, third parties can see more clearly and set guidelines more objectively than we can do ourselves.
That’s true for cloud as well. It’s very hard to change an internal cost account model from within IT, and demand variable internal billing. It’s much easier to present a more fluid bill from a cloud provider as a “cost of doing business.” Similarly, it’s hard to maintain focus on agility-at-all-costs internally when budget meetings litter your calendar – but it’s easy to get that agility built in from an external provider.
What that implies is that private clouds – or advanced virtualization – should be used, and lauded for its success. And, for the goals that are best facilitated by an external party, engage someone as a trusted partner in helping you reach that goal. Interview them as you would a nutritionist or a trainer, to ensure they have a philosophy and operating model that will support your progress. And, ultimately, select a provider with whom you feel comfortable – because this growth and change in your organization’s behavior is best facilitated with an understanding, engaged, and expert partner.
Private cloud isn’t failing. It’s delivering against it’s potential. It’s the hybrid cloud that can get you the rest of the way — with the right partner helping you achieve your goals.