In a Forbes article, “Buyers Beware “Private Clouds” That Aren’t Clouds at All” Ken Ziegler, CEO of Logicworks, a New York-based cloud computing and managed hosting provider says:
“The term ‘cloud’ should not be used unless you are accessing infrastructure or software via the web,” Ziegler says. “If it’s on your balance sheet, it’s not ‘cloud.’”
The quote really resonated with me as does another Ziegler quote:
“This is a way for larger providers to try to hang onto the enterprise and position themselves as what they call ‘private cloud solutions’, so that [soon-to-be-retired] CIOs or CTOs can defend or retain their jobs, and say, ‘We’re in the private cloud,’” Ziegler says. “Well, if you own the asset, and you’re going to the same vendors that you went to before and you’re plugging them into your data center…it’s not a cloud and you’re not leveraging any of the key economic benefits of cloud.”
Cloud offers tremendous business advantages – speed to market, agility and reduced costs – however internal IT is hijacking these advantages. Essentially, the CIO is making the case that it is better for internal IT to own the cloud. But this approach doesn’t make sense. Read Alex Bligh’s insightful and detailed paper on the topic.
If your IT department owns the ‘private cloud’ you are still buying hardware and investing in your network; having to not only manage it yourself, but also having to refresh the technology and account for capital depreciation. The CAPEX is significant. So why would you want that on your books? It will be a financial drag on the business and more importantly is a distraction from managing your core business functions.
Furthermore, if your internal IT team is hijacking the cloud infrastructure, you are not going to reap the economic benefits that moving to the cloud will at last bring to IT. Private clouds are predominately pet IT technology projects which are exciting and new for the technology people involved.
Just because your IT people are using cloud type technology internally, does not mean you have a cloud. This is because the value of the cloud is the business benefits it brings and the change in the way IT is delivered. Let’s not lose sight of that with all the tech jargon that is washing and swirling around.
I’ve been a CEO for many years and my focus has always been on growing the business; not my IT department. For these reasons, instead of looking to private cloud, business leaders need to look to a public cloud. You’ll reap the rewards of a cloud deployment without the financial burden associated with it.
Leave the business of cloud to the experts so you can be the expert in your market.