No enterprise is going to put anything important in a public cloud for a very long time. If you run the IT infrastructure for any significant-scale enterprise your current reality tends to be a bit sobering if not downright depressing.
Your data centers are a mix of many different server flavors, operating systems, application platforms, and even virtualization technologies that no cloud provider can currently support without major expense and disruption.
To consider an internal cloud, CIOs are going to have to get over a few hurdles.
- First, they need to know what they have in their data centers and what it's currently doing (or, as is often the case, not doing).
- Second, they have to find a way to start incrementally, on a project that will show sufficiently strong payback to warrant the next project, and the next.
- Third, they can't disturb what's already working.
- Finally, they have to be able to work with their current security and compliance systems.
So what do you do to get in on the benefits of cloud computing without security or economic risk? You build an internal cloud to reproduce some of the benefits of cloud computing inside your own firewall. Even Gartner believes internal clouds will become a reality.
This week, Cassatt announced software and a new service that it says can transform an organization's existing IT infrastructure into an internal compute cloud.
Cassatt is one of several companies now talking about "internal" or "private" or "on-premise" clouds. (VMware certainly did at VMworld a few weeks back).
The thing that makes Cassatt's pitch a bit different is this: it says you can use what you already have.
As every CIO girds for recessionary IT budgets, doing a "rip and replace" to move a few steps toward cloud nirvana will be a non-starter. If you can begin to get cloud-like behavior from that complicated morass of infrastructure that your real-world data centers actually have, you're giving yourself a big head start.
In any case, an internal cloud done right represents an attractive and practical alternative to external clouds. At least until the promised nirvana of secure, interoperable cloud computing available at five 9s finally appears.