Private clouds were the right solution for many enterprises that wanted to realize the value of cloud services without actually moving to a public cloud. However, from what I can see, the trend now appears to moving to deployments on public or hybrid cloud models.
Gartner seems to agree. Michael Warrilow, a research director at Gartner, says more enterprises will look to use public and hybrid cloud models in 2014 as they realize "it's impossible to private-cloud everything."
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Although a private cloud is indeed a solid and viable architectural option, it's typically overused. Enterprises that want to maintain control of their hardware and software see the private cloud as an option to help them kick the cloud can farther down the road. They can claim to have a cloud, but that cloud looks like the other systems lying around the data center. Moreover, the cost is about the same or more than traditional systems.
Public clouds have matured a great deal in the last few years, and the truth is they're more ready for prime time than most private clouds. In addition, they're more cost-effective and do a much better job of providing time-to-market advantages, business agility, and scalability.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google took the lead in the push toward public clouds, with AWS scoring a massive lead. AWS and Google offer only public cloud services, whereas Microsoft offers both. There are pure private cloud providers as well, such as Eucalyptus, which is an AWS-compatible private cloud, and the many OpenStack-based private cloud providers.
I suspect that private clouds are not losing steam as much as public clouds are picking up steam. Having implemented both, I can tell you that private clouds are a sound architectural option, and they are required in many instances. But public clouds are also a legitimate option, and where public clouds fit, they provide a lot more value than many private clouds. Most enterprises will end up with both, using hybrid or multicloud implementations.
Looking out three to five years, I suspect that most cloud implementations will be public clouds, and most applications running on clouds will be on public clouds. Consider the massive investment made by public cloud providers and the fact that the public cloud is simply the better architectural choice most of the time.
Still, don't shed tears for the private cloud guys: They will always have some part of the market, which happens to be expanding. Just be clear that the momentum is now adamantly behind public clouds.
This article, "The private cloud is giving way to the public cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.