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Private Clouds Can Build the Public Cloud!

Cloud computing has come a long way from being just another marketing buzz word. We are finally at a point where we are able to define it, give it shape and understand what it will look like moving forward.

I am a big champion of the idea that in the next 10 to 15 years, IT will be in the business of building and running datacenters, and move completely into public clouds. In the interim, however, we still have a long way to go. Some even argue that we will have a mixture of private and public clouds.

Today, most of the products and the development being done is focusing on the idea of private and public clouds, where you can leverage and intermix these clouds to satisfy resource needs for your organization at a particular period in time (such as end of month usage bursts, etc.).

VMware and other companies are leading the charge in building software and solutions that enable private clouds, but also interconnect private and public clouds.

Now, if the concept of private clouds takes off, at what point will VMware and others consider building platforms which allow private clouds to contribute resources to the public cloud? In most datacenters -- and I emphasize most, not all, datacenters -- we still have resources that go unused, whether it is after hours or on weekends or simply because we overprovisioned our datacenter. If our datacenter transforms into a private cloud against which we can configure and set SLAs to secure the resources we need to run our business, wouldn't it be a good idea to rent the remaining resources to the public cloud?

Think of it this way: Most telcos and all the large computer hardware manufacturers (like HP, IBM, Dell, Cisco, etc.) are building public cloud offerings of some sort. If there was a way for them to allow private clouds to contribute resources, would that not be a win-win for everyone?

All of a sudden, your overprovisioned private cloud is making money, and for those that will say, "We are not in the business of selling clouds," you would not be. Your private cloud is more often than not already in an outsourced datacenter that the large public cloud providers already own. Your contribution to the public cloud can go against your monthly cost of occupying that space.

Folks, we have done this before. It's not rocket science. Our energy companies frequently use or leverage energy in the form of electricity gathered from private sources. They attach that private source to the electric grid and harness that power. Heck, some countries do that to aid neighbors that don't have the CapEx to build their own infrastructure.

You are probably wondering at this point, "Eli, how is your prediction of public cloud going to become a reality in 15 years, if this is the case?" Easy. Remember, your private cloud exists in a co-located datacenter; you have gone down the route of private cloud for many reasons (public clouds are not ready, not secure, etc.). If, in 15 years they are ready, then what is to stop you from turning over your private cloud completely to your public cloud provider and simply paying as you go?

And so the question becomes: Who will be first to market with a product that would allow private clouds to feed the public cloud? VMware's vCloud Director is definitely is contender. The idea would almost mimic what's already happening in the gaming industry. Today, if you want to play an online game, you would connect to a broker server which connects you to the rest of gamers out there. Could VMware build a proxy server which would act as the medium that brokers private clouds which yields resources to public clouds?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 05/10/2011 at 12:49 PM


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