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Speed, Agility, Not Cost Reduction, Drive Cloud

Large enterprises that have moved toward a virtualized network infrastructure are now beginning to look at adopting private clouds, a trend that is moving from hype to actual deployments this year, says Tom Bittman, a VP and analyst with Gartner Research.

Although the cloud management platform market is very immature, Bittman says, another trend is choice. The four categories that he sees forming are: virtualization platforms expanding "up," traditional management vendors expanding "down," open source-centered initiatives (most notably, OpenStack) and start-ups that are often focused on Amazon interoperability.

Another trend he sees is that enterprises have assumed the primary benefit of private cloud is lower costs. That perception is changing, Bittman says, and recent Gartner polls have shown the majority of large enterprises consider speed and agility to be the primary benefits. "Enterprises engaged in private cloud projects to reduce their costs will usually fail to meet objectives, as well as miss the mark on potential business benefits." Even as adoption of private clouds increases this year, Bittman says enterprises need to do a reality check to determine where they make sense. Private clouds are a "very specific vertical trend" with a "pretty specific set of standards."

Test environments are ideal for private clouds since they are done very quickly in a fairly standard way, he says. Private clouds should be deployed in situations where users have very standard requests that come in often and require speed, he adds.

"You have to ask users what they want and set [private clouds] up with them," says Bittman. "It’s very important for IT and the business to be in lock-step here. When they’re not, they’re going to have problems."

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2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
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