Skip to main content

Public-, Private-, Hybrid Cloud – Quo Vadis?

Back in 2012 thought leader Esteban Kolsky went through the efforts of defining a pure, open cloud architecture with its three constituting layers: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, and samples of their interactions. 
A core focus lies on how an open cloud model solves the issues of security, scalability, and integration. Esteban also makes it abundantly clear that it can easily take 10 to 15 years to be widely adopted.
First things first: He is right – at least to quite an extent.
Personally I am of the opinion that any open cloud model necessarily includes private, and thus hybrid clouds. I say this while I agree that the panacea is the open model. Private and hybrid models are at least challenged in the security aspect and, to a lesser extent, in the integration with the latter usually being mitigated by maintaining a white list of ‘approved’ applications, technologies, vendors, etc. Scalability shouldn’t be a private cloud issue for most companies, given that they work with a data centre provider that is worth their salt. The bigger problem of security remains, but here one could argue that it is the same as for non-cloud, on-premise implementations.
To a minimum, private and hybrid clouds have their value as transition steps. In reality it is more. Just take VW implementing a private cloud based upon OpenStack, delivered by Mirantis – which is, interestingly enough, not covered by Forrester Research in their Q1 2016 Wave on Private Cloud Software Suites. But I deviate …


The recent RightScale report on the State of the Cloud tells us that nearly every company uses cloud of some sort. These may only be e-mail services, though. It also tells us that the use of private cloud went up drastically and far faster than the use of public cloud; and with it hybrid cloud, which is also a function of the widespread adoption of public cloud. Have integration between an app on the public cloud and one on the private sided and you are hybrid – and what business can work efficiently, or even effectively without integration?
The State of the Cloud report also shows a slight reduction of multiple private- and single-public cloud strategies with a corresponding increase of multiple-public and single-private cloud strategies, with hybrid cloud strategy staying constant. The latter makes technology advisor Ben Kepes wonder in a recent computerworld post whether this is “an indication of greater move to the public cloud, or simply the last vestiges of conservative companies not willing to move to cloud of any flavor”. I’d like to add another possible interpretation in a second.
Cloud models – wrongly so, I dare to say – are implemented to help companies doing things more efficiently, or to save cost.
Why is this wrong? Because it is shortsighted! Without a further strategic view into business flexibility and business process improvement it will lead at best to short term cost savings and then it is missing out on the opportunity to de-clutter existing business processes and to improve them. The real benefits of a move into a cloud model come with revisiting and streamlining business processes as part of moving ‘legacy’ applications into the cloud. A hybrid cloud strategy helps achieving this in a stepwise approach, following the Think Big – Act Small approach that I described for Customer Experience, Customer Engagement and CRM earlier.

Public, Private or Hybrid? What now?

The preference of private cloud seems to be more pronounced in enterprises than in SMBs, which tend to have more of their IT in public clouds – yeah, plural as the average of productively used clouds is 3, with three more being experimented with.
This number of used clouds again emphasizes the importance of integration although I, again, think that this is less of a (technical) problem and more of a logistics one. The problem that I rather see is that every major vendor intends to establish their platform as THE platform in an effort to maximize their own gains; which goes on cost of the customer benefit of cloud, I must add.
This is an attempt that is obviously doomed to fail, not only on a PaaS, but also on an infrastructure level. We will not see all businesses around dumping their Salesforce implementations in favor of SAP, Oracle, or Microsoft (take any other permutation of names here); nor will we see SAP develop an e-mail system that can seriously compete with Google’s. Neither will we see AWS emerging as the sole surviving infrastructure …
We will (continue to) see businesses focusing on value delivered, which will heat up the competition and will have a healthy impact on pricing.
For a starter: Many to most businesses will not rely on a single cloud – as they did not rely on a single business applications vendor in the past. And this situation gets even more complicated by adding productivity- and other applications into the mix.
The resulting need for integration is already taken up. There is a plethora of cloud-based integration platforms available, some of them open, some of them proprietary. Going forward the selection of an integration platform will become even more important than the selection of an applications platform. Though one can argue that most applications platforms deliver integration capability, as it stands these integration capabilities work best intra-platform and not inter-platform.
To lift the fog - where do I think cloud is headed? Public and Private Clouds are here to stay. The smarter of the more conservative companies and the slower adopters will likely use a transition model that involves private and hybrid clouds to improve their business. Businesses will use multiple clouds on different (PaaS, IaaS) platforms, which will put more emphasis on another IaaS – Integration as a Service.
What do you think?

Last Year's Top 5 Popular Posts

A Love Affair - Nimble Smart Contacts for Outlook Mobile

Social Selling pioneer Nimble has an awesome start into 2017. First it got number 1 in CRM satisfaction by G2Crowd earlier in January, then friend and CRM godfather Paul Greenberg named Nimble a winner of the 2017 CRM Watchlist awards, and now Nimble announces the Smart Contacts add-in for Outlook, a deep integration into Outlook for iOS, with an integration into Outlook for Android coming soon. The Nimble Smart Contacts add-in brings the power of Nimble’s view on contacts to Outlook for mobile users, after the widget and Outlook add-on already offered this functionality for the web- and Outlook clients. The add-on follows the philosophy that for most companies the e-mail account is still their CRM system; given this, this is a straightforward enhancement. Nimble acknowledges that there are two main email systems used in businesses: Gmail and Office365, and now fully supports them both. This integration delivers the profiling data that the Nimble back end gathers practically at any plac…

Mass Distraction - The Case for a Consolidated Marketing Platform

These days, customer experiences increasingly need to be delivered with the help of technology. This does not mean that direct interactions and people are no more important in marketing, sales, or service; on the contrary, but that an increasing number of customers is using the web, social media, chat, or an app to identify suitable products or services or to resolve an issue, when needed. The Customer Executive Board found that 57 per cent of the buying process is already completed before sales personnel get engaged. A Cisco retail study confirms the American Express findings and states that around 60 per cent of all in-store purchases start their journey electronically. The American Express Global Barometer claims that 60 per cent of all customers abandoned a purchase because of poor service experiences. Over the past 20 or so years the way products and services get sold and customer service as well as marketing get delivered to customers changed dramatically. Gone are the times wher…

Google and SAP - A Marriage in the Clouds

On Mach 8, 2017, SAP and Google announced another marriage in the cloud during Google’s Cloud Next event: SAP HANA is certified on Google’s Cloud Platform GCP, and is generally available now. SAP Cloud Platform and more products and solutions are to follow. The Google Cloud Launcher marketplace will be utilized to offer and deploy to and for customers and partners, starting with SAP HANA, express edition, which is already available, too. Further topics that are covered by this partnership are ·Improving Google’s containerization technologies for enterprise workloads ·Security, privacy, and integrity of customer data in the cloud. As part of this SAP software shall act as a data custodian (NB: How that works in legal and political environments remains to be seen) and joint solutions for access control, governance, risk and compliance shall get developed ·Integrate Google’s G Suite into SAP applications. This has already been implemented for Identity and Access Management. More on the still f…

Clash of Titans

Following all those announcements of AI, machine learning, IoT, IaaS, PaaS and what not over the past months, I was beginning to wonder where the big business software vendors are going. What is the game plan of Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP? How does newcomer Adobe fit in there? Maybe Amazon and Google, too; or Facebook. It is a time for another Quo Vadis – this time: Quo Vadis, industry? Clash of Titans In the last about 2 – 3 years we have seen a strong acceleration of innovation, or at least talk about it. -Cloud computing, offering nearly unlimited scalability and elasticity of computing resources has become main stream. Cloud computing also allows for nearly 100 per cent uptime -Since the advent of the iPhone (yes, I know this was earlier than 2013) the proliferation of sensors has increased a lot, resulting in them becoming cheaper and cheaper, allowing for an increasing number of data rich applications -This has also driven fast mobile connectivity, which has become nearly u…

Watson meets Einstein - Elementary my Dear Holmes

This week Salesforce and IBM announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint, AI based solutions based upon Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson, their respective AI platforms. The upcoming solutions will be designed to “deliver everage artificial intelligence and enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster than ever before. With the partnership, IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, AI that powers the world’s #1 CRM, will seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.” IBM Watson will be connected to the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform in a way that augments the customer specific insights that are delivered by Einstein with its structured and unstructured data that comes from a variety of sources, in order to be able to use specific as well as more generic, yet industry relevant, information. “Together, Watson and Einstein wil…