Private cloud computing is going mainstream. It has moved from a technology limited to a handful of innovative enterprises to a technology that has been prioritized for development in the next 12 months by more than half the enterprises surveyed, according to new Forrester research. Differentiation between competing vendors now lies in user experience, ease of use and the provision of hybrid environments.
Enterprises Turn to Private Clouds
These are just some of the key findings of the recently published Forrester Wave: Private Cloud Solutions, Q4 2013 research by Lauren Nelson. The conclusions are based on interviews carried out in June and July this year across 27 vendors and their clients.
Nelson found that as the use of private clouds develops, vendors are being forced to provide a wide range of enterprise capabilities, including Virtual Machine (VM) management, design tools for complex applications, as well as substantial catalogs of services.
It also shows that most enterprises have neither the resources nor the will to build private clouds themselves. Instead, they are buying commercial software to place on top of existing enterprise IT infrastructure. The research also shows that there is no shortage of vendors able to provide tools to do this.
The report also identified what Forrester called the 10 most significant private cloud providers. While all vendors provide basic virtual infrastructure and management capabilities, some are better at it than others.
In alphabetical order, the vendors that made it into this way include ASG Software Solutions, BMC Software, CA Technologies, Cisco Systems, Citrix Systems, Eucalyptus Systems, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and VMware.
They were picked based on 61 criteria that enable infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals build full-featured private cloud solutions for enterprises according to enterprise needs. The research also only evaluated commercial, software-only private Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud solutions.
According to Forrester, research over the past three years that appeared in its Forrsights Hardware Surveys shows a growing interest in private cloud deployments in both the US and Europe. While 33 percent have already moved to private cloud computing, 55 percent are expected to do so over the next 12 months.
Current strategies for cloud deployments include the purchase of commercial software (30 percent) or the purchase of several individual cloud components that pull together Infrastructure-as a-Service (IaaS) with existing hardware and IT management tools (16 percent).
However, the numerous different approaches to cloud computing that are currently available are leading to confusion around the products themselves and the possibilities they offer.
Key Private Cloud Solution Trends
As the market evolves, Forrester expects it will expand to provide better cloud management possibilities, offer more to meet the needs of developers, and provide ways for enterprises to develop hybrid environments. In terms of solutions, Forrester has identified the following four trends:
1. IaaS Focus
One of the major developments over the course of this year was the addition of low-level Platform-as-a-Service capabilities for the deployment of applications to private clouds. This enables administrators to create templates for application development, rather than just the raw infrastructure that enables them to build them.
2. DevOps Support
A number of vendors have started to plan for the development of tools that will help developers and operations professionals at the same time. While developers are generally focused on speed and completion goals, operations professionals are more concerned about stability and uptime.
3. IT Management
Many recent cloud packages are evolving to include IT service management capabilities. For those enterprises that do not have these tools already, these capabilities will simplify deployment. For those that do have them already, this can be an unnecessary cost. The result will be the development of multi-tiered cloud suites that will meet the needs of both kinds of enterprises.
4. Hybrid clouds
Hybrid clouds are those where IT environments are built between cloud and non-cloud environment and which, in an ideal world, can be managed through a single portal. However, most solutions do not offer the possibility of managing the two environments through a single portal so that enterprises are being forced to manage cloud and non-cloud elements as separate IT components. Unifying the two is something enterprises will have to work on.
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