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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.

"Virtualization will be the major entry point to private clouds,’" he says. "Companies are virtualizing their servers, storage and networking, and [are] automating their processes; now it’s a natural step to make some of this available through self service.’"

In a Gartner report he penned, "Top Five Private Cloud Computing Trends, 2012," Bittman says there will be 10 times more private cloud deployments in 2012 then there were the year before. The reason is that technologies from companies like Eucalyptus, VMware, BMC and HP are "maturing and emerging" now, he says.

And as large cloud providers like Amazon, Terremark and Rackspace are starting to offer private cloud options, there is more pressure on IT from the CIO and the CEO to deploy them, says Bittman. That is leading to another trend he sees: Enterprises are beginning to look to service providers to manage their private clouds, with varying degrees of privacy.

There are two different paradigms emerging in private cloud implementations: one that offers the benefits of hosting and another that can be deployed quickly and in a self-service model, Bittman says. This is leading to what he calls the middle ground, since enterprises have choices.

"We call it … blended offerings," where one provider offers a private cloud and, with a physical database, integrates them together to avoid the issue of latency. Bittman also points out that "not everything fits on a virtual machine" and "not everything needs cloud. The blended approach is what customers want." In fact, earlier this month Terremark, a subsidiary of Verizon, launched its private cloud service, offering dedicated computing and storage, with an option to burst onto a public cloud.

Another trend Bittman has seen is enterprise interest in hybrid clouds. According to a poll at a recent Gartner data center conference, 47% of respondents want the ability to manage clouds on premises and off premises centrally by 2015. This is despite the fact that actual hybrid cloud usage is "really rare right now," since the technology is not quite ready yet, he says.

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