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Cracking the public vs. private cloud conundrum

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Cracking the public vs. private cloud conundrum

The growth of public cloud computing services continues to make enterprise IT uneasy. So what's a nervous IT department to do? One obvious answer is for IT to implement a private cloud and regain favor among developers and business owners.

Diplomatically put, implementing a private cloud "allows IT organizations to deliver higher service levels of the new cloud business model and provide faster time to market," said Brett Adam, chief technology officer at rPath, whose image management software is often coupled with private cloud suites in support of self-service portals.

"IT runs on its own slow clock speed, and the business runs at hyper speed," said Scott Hammond, vice president of strategy and business development for intelligent automation products at Cisco. Private cloud can be a way to bring those groups in sync.

The Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (CIAC) private cloud offering consists of the Cisco Unified Computing System server platform plus a self-service storefront, a service catalog, governance, provisioning and lifecycle-tracking software. The company has used CIAC internally to build out a private cloud called Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS).

Hammond said that since the first CITEIS services went live last year, the range of "cycle time" needed to stand up a new environment has dropped from eight to 12 weeks down to anywhere from 15 minutes to two days, depending on workflow and governance processes.

The private cloud approach also dovetails with existing investments in virtualization software, said Lydia Leong, an analyst in Gartner's technology and service provider group.

"The enterprise has big investments in virtualization," Leong said. "With private cloud, you can extend those investments if you don't have the appetite for looking at new solutions."

Setting up a private cloud, however, isn't exactly something you can do overnight.

EPAM Systems, a software development outsourcer, has a 6,000-core private cloud used by thousands of developers and quality assurance engineers in the U.S. and Europe. The company chose cloud computing software from Nimbula in late 2010 and spent at least six months integrating it with its various development, continuous integration, change management, staging and QA systems, said Eli Feldman, vice president of cloud solutions and services at the Newton, Pa.-based firm.

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