There was consensus from the panel on the rise of the private cloud and the eventual decline of the public cloud (IaaS). According to one panelist, “the private cloud is cheaper than the public cloud (for many enterprise environments).” While the public cloud will thrive for SMBs (because it reduces the expense threshold for technology services); private clouds will thrive for IT infrastructures above 500 kW.
This sentiment was also consistent with findings shared by a top editor over dinner at Interop (Lazard’s annual “emerging tech trends dinner” and by another high profile editor we briefed on our recent May 2012 Vantage data center tour. It appears that the public cloud peaked last year and is today receiving less interest from enterprises. More about this in coming weeks.
On the one hand, I find the contention that public clouds will "decline" overstated--even given Greg's clarification in the comments that "By 'decline of the public cloud' I do NOT mean that IaaS will shrink or has started shrinking, but rather that it will see declining enterprise share relative to private clouds and newly constructed enterprise data centers as well as PaaS." I agree that the public cloud economic argument is less compelling for organizations with the scale to build large-scale data centers. But any categorical "the private cloud is cheaper" arguments applied to not just today but tomorrow seems overly glib.
With that said, this discussion reinforces the very valid point that we're not on some unstoppable trajectory to an everything public world. Which is a point worth making about a trend that started out being talked about in precisely this vein. Cloud computing will not, in important respects, mirror centrally-generated and utility-priced electrical power. What analogs between the two exist are imperfect and limited.
But ultimately this isn't about private cloud or public cloud, determined as those with certain agendas are to champion the eventual triumph of one approach or another. It's about a hybrid future in which some organizations and some workloads will use primarily private infrastructures and others will use public ones. And that means the best cloud management approaches will be those that maintain flexibility by being open and by being hybrid.