Why Large Enterprises Need Public Cloud Too

May 20, 2011
La Defense Office Park (Paris, France)

Corporations look better with clouds too! La Defense, an office park in Paris. The building on the left houses the CA Technologies office.

In several recent posts, I have concentrated on the benefits of private cloud for large enterprises. For example:

However, I want to be very clear about something:

Public cloud offers great benefits, even – or especially – for large organizations.

Public cloud may well be the only IT architecture ever needed for most small organizations, many startups, and some emerging enterprises. Why build even a server cupboard, let alone a data centre, if you don’t need to? And many of these organizations will never need to.

However, even large enterprises should use public cloud. It certainly offers substantial benefits for large enterprises too, including:

  • cost reductions – avoiding any upfront spend on hardware can drive down the cost of creating and delivering some new products and services, and even reduce their total service cost over the lifetime of a short- or medium-term deployment.
  • agile service delivery – when reacting to market forces, public cloud services can pivot in ways even private cloud cannot, because they are designed to accommodate immediate delivery of large scale, semi-permanent, additive compute resources.
  • strategic flexibility – if your strategy depends on deep investment in IT hardware, a major course correction can be prohibitively expensive. Using public cloud resources, even if only temporarily, can be the difference between making the market and missing it.
  • workforce mobility – physical hardware and data centers, even agile private clouds, can dramatically limit your ability to expand, insource, offshore, outsource, or move staff remotely, especially limiting small distributed teams, and even larger regional office deployments.
  • mobile/social support – mobile and social services are king and queen of public cloud-native applications, driven by unique needs for global mobility, fast response, load spikes and troughs, massive data volumes, content crowdsourcing, and more.
All of these benefits ultimately drive significant competitive advantage

All these benefits are applicable to large enterprises. Some are even more applicable than for smaller organizations, due to the larger benefits of scale. And no doubt you all can think of many more.

Of course there are also many challenges. Public cloud may not work for every service, or even for every organization. For some services, the issues will be insurmountable – maybe forever, maybe just for now – while for others they will be trivial. Similarly, some cloud providers will be unacceptable for certain services, where others pass with flying colours.

The key is in evaluating which services in your portfolio are suited to public cloud; and evaluating the public cloud providers where you may migrate them.

To maximize the benefit for any public cloud deployment, evaluate each service’s requirements for cost, risk, performance, portability, security, uptime, recovery time, visibility, control, compliance; and measure these against the ability of cloud service providers to meet those requirements.

If you avoid public cloud altogether, you will miss substantial benefits

Easy to say, harder to do – but there are solutions (from my employer, CA Technologies, for example) to help you evaluate both your service portfolio and possible cloud providers, so you are not on your own. Which also means you have no excuse.

Because one thing is certain – if you avoid the public cloud altogether, even if you are a large enterprise, then you will miss substantial benefits.

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