The Great Cloud Debate: Private vs. Public. Cost, Control and other considerations

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The Cloud-A team attended the OpenStack Summit track on Cloud Economics and Strategy with Jeff Dickey and Mark Williams of Redapt, Dan Spurling of Getty Images, Sebastian Stadil of Scalr and Sheng Liang of Rancher. The panel discussed key economic and strategic lessons learned through their experience managing public cloud infrastructure as well as private cloud infrastructure. Pricing trends of public cloud vendors, labour costs of private clouds were discussed and compared.

In the end, the panel agreed unanimously that in most cases, public cloud has a more attractive ROI when compared to deploying a private cloud. With that said, the group identified a few scenarios when private cloud may be more attractive.

When performance is mission critical

Stadil, of Scalr, mentioned NASA’s cloud workflows, processing petabytes of data coming down from space every day. The bandwidth required to handle this data is not available from public clouds and therefore NASA requires private cloud infrastructure.

Laws and Regulations

Germany’s strict data residency and privacy laws were discussed as well as the gaming (casino) industry. Both scenarios require absolute control over data which leaves private cloud as the only options in some cases.

Wanting to Own It

The notion that some clients just want to own the data, and the underlying cloud platform was mentioned. This is obviously something that not really anyone can argue with, and isn’t financially driven.

Control as a Decision Making Factor?

Control was a factor that was brought up by a member of the audience. The audience member stated that some organizations would not want mission critical workflows in the public cloud because they would have to rely on a third party to keep their business running. The panelists disagreed with this fundamentally, with Mark Williams stating that “Outages are a reality, whether public or private cloud.” He went on to say that in most cases outages are caused by humans, which is a factor in both a public cloud and private cloud. Dan Spurling backed this up by saying that when it comes to trusting his internal cloud team vs. a public cloud team , he’ll trust the public cloud team every time, purely for the experience and scale they have.

I personally agree with the panel on this topic, as we are seeing this becoming less and less of an issue with clients at Cloud-A. It is our reputation with superior uptime, and hands on support that allows organizations to trust us with hosting the applications that run their business.

Valuable Lessons

This was a very valuable track session, with many of the “cloud debate” questions that we hear about everyday discussed in real time, by people with real experience. In the end, scenarios and cases were made for both private and public cloud. If cost is the only thing considered, public cloud wins almost every time, but cost is not always the only thing to consider when deciding on your organization’s cloud strategy.

The Panel

Jeff Dickey

Chief Innovation Officer, Redapt, Redapt

As Chief Innovation Officer, Jeff oversees Cloud Strategy & Architecture at Redapt, he works with IT executives across the country as they solve current and future business problems with solutions that will stand the test of time. Jeff has worked in IT and Operations management consulting for over 15 years, helping companies across all verticals save millions by investing in technology and IT practices that that will meet the needs of both… Read More ?

Sheng Liang

Co-Founder, CEO of Rancher

Sheng is a co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs.  Prior to starting Rancher, Sheng was CTO of the Cloud Platforms group at Citrix Systems after their acquisition of, where he was co-founder and CEO.  Sheng has more than 15 years of experience building innovative technology.  He was a co-founder at Teros, which was acquired by Citrix in 2005 and led large engineering teams at SEVEN Networks, and Openwave Systems.  Sheng started his… Read More ?

Dan Spurling

VP – Tech Services, Getty Images

Proven executive with over 16 years of experience leading technology groups and cultivating world-class performance with an enterprise outlook. Extensive track record building and developing teams of high-talent leaders and high-output individuals located both on and off-shore. Holds an MBA from the University of Washington.

Sebastian Stadil

Founder, Scalr, Scalr

Sebastian Stadil has been a Cloud developer since 2004, starting with web services for e-commerce and then for computational resources. He founded the Silicon Valley Cloud Computing Group, a user group of over 8000 members that meets monthly to present the latest developments in the industry. | As if that weren’t enough, Sebastian founded Scalr, an end-to-end solution to manage application infrastructure deployed across private and public cloud… Read More ?

Mark Williams

CTO, Redapt

Possessing a deep technical knowledge in the public and private cloud space, Mark is responsible for optimizing Redapt’s private and hybrid cloud solutions as Chief Technology Officer. Mark continually balances the ecosystem of technology, products, services, and automation with customer requirements for scale, reliability, and performance. | |   | Prior to joining Redapt, Mark was VP of Cloud Infrastructure Services and the first operations… Read More ?

UPDATE: Check out the Cloud Economics talk for yourself!