Storm clouds gather at IP Expo

By Stuart Sumner
22 Oct 2010 View Comments
A man with an umbrella sheltering from a thunderstorm
Industry fights over the public cloud

Is the public cloud right for the enterprise? This is a question that continues to provoke differences of opinion, none more so than those voiced at the IP Expo event in London this week.

Michael Capellas, CEO of Acadia, the coalition between Cisco, EMC and VMware, argued that enterprises will be unlikely to take up the public cloud.

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"Private clouds, with companies taking clusters of applications and rolling them into a converged infrastructure with a cloud-based delivery model is happening," he said, adding: "Public clouds will continue to exist but not generally for enterprise purposes."

He explained that this is because organisations need to feel secure about their infrastructure, and maintain more control than the public cloud is able to offer.

However Tim Pitcher, international region vice president at 3Par said: "This simply isn't true. The cloud market [a considerable part of which will be made up by the public cloud] is forecast to reach $45bn [£28.6bn] per year over the next three years."

Pitcher added that security is not the major stumbling block Capellas believes it is.
"Look at the companies which have set up in the cloud, they wouldn’t have done so if security concerns around the public cloud were real," said Pitcher. "For example, people buy goods through PayPal on a daily basis – this runs on 3Par in a shared service infrastructure; Salesforce.com is also entirely cloud-based."

Simon Hansford, vice president and co-founder of UK-based cloud services provider Attenda, struck a middle ground: "We actually think applications will be hosted across multiple clouds [both public and private]."

Hansford explained that two years ago we might have thought that the world would only have four or five clouds, citing Microsoft, Amazon, Google and HP as possible examples.

"Actually I think there will be thousands of clouds, each with their own advantages, features and abilities. Our clients are likely to end up using multiple clouds," he commented. Hansford describes this scenario as a hybrid cloud.

"The corporate enterprise will have applications all over these places," he concluded.

Zane Adam, head of Azure at Microsoft, said he didn't believe that we should allow ourselves to be confused by the traditional definitions of public and private cloud, and he argued that some vendors deliberately exaggerate differences between the environments for their own commercial ends, and to put customers off using the public cloud.

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