Public, Private, or Hybrid Cloud : Perception Versus Reality

Deciding to refinance my home mortgage was simple. The savings from a lower interest rate would pay for the closing costs after a few years. If I planned to live in the house for a long time, refinancing made sense.

Deciding between a public, private, or hybrid cloud? Not so simple. The payback calculation is important, but so is control over security, compliance, and performance.

To learn more about out how organizations decide on a public, private, or hybrid cloud for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), IDC surveyed IT executives in 1,000 midsize and large organizations around the world, in early 2017. The executives already used or were evaluating IaaS. To me, three findings stand out.

Contrary to perceptions, public clouds are not always cheaper 

Private clouds have matured. The perception that they never quite pay for themselves may have been true a decade ago, but not now. In the IDC study, organizations that deployed traditional applications in private clouds saw lower TCO in Year 2. (TCO includes infrastructure, licensing, maintenance, management staff, and training.) By Year 5, the private cloud cost $2,700 less per year per user. With 2,000 users, savings amounted to $5.4 million in Year 5. *

Given these findings, it’s not surprising that the largest share of study participants (41.5%) named cost-effectiveness as one of the top three benefits of a private cloud. The runners up were increased control over security (34%) and flexible configuration options (33.2%).

Both public and private clouds have a place in IT strategies

But executives look beyond TCO when deciding between a private or public cloud. One in five study participants said they would consider moving an application in the public cloud back to a private cloud even if costs were the same or slightly more. The top reason: better protection of applications’ intellectual property (37.3%)

While private clouds are gaining momentum, they’re not for everyone. IDC survey respondents noted that traditional private clouds don’t offer value-added services available from cloud providers, such as database-as-a-service and containers (34%). They also worried over high costs of operations (31.7%) and maintenance (30.9%). We might expect the cost objections to fade as people learn that the payback period for private clouds is typically just two years.

Hybrid cloud: have your cake and eat it, too

Fortunately, it’s not an either-or decision. The cloud is not a place, but rather an operating model. With a hybrid cloud, some applications and workloads run on-premises while others run in service provider clouds. You get the best of both worlds—the security and control of a private cloud coupled with the value-added services and pay-as-you-go flexibility of a public cloud. Indeed, 79.7% of the IDC study participants had a hybrid cloud strategy.

How to get started with a hybrid cloud? You can either build a solution on your own or use a Dell EMC turnkey hybrid cloud platform. The Dell EMC platform lives in your data center and has built-in connections to a wide choice of public cloud providers. The turnkey approach brings three big advantages: Faster time to value. Simpler lifecycle management because of one-call support. And included enterprise IT tooling and a self-service portal.

To learn more about the IDC Study and learn which cloud deployment model best fits your needs, read the IDC report on iView

* IDC White Paper, sponsored by Dell EMC, The Power of Hybrid Cloud, May 2017

About the Author: Vivian Clark