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Does DevOps Require Private Cloud?

01.18.2012
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Although some people with very little understanding of IT will say that cloud computing eliminates the need for Operations, and therefore DevOps, the developers and sysadmins in the trenches know that cloud computing could actually bring more opportunities for infrastructure and deployment automation.  Some companies are cautiously setting up private clouds, while others are jumping onto well-established public clouds.  So which would the better option for DevOps-minded folk?

First off, I really enjoyed this definition of DevOps from Joshua McKenty at Piston Cloud:

DevOps, simply put, is the idea of tearing down the artificial wall between those who have developed an application, and those who are responsible for operating it.

-- Joshua McKenty


It seems like the obvious thing to do when you put it like that, and that's why companies are moving to maximize their efficiency by bringing development and operations closer together and creating a unified workspace where they can coexist.  But is it better for this collaboration to be done publicly or privately?

Public Cloud

Siki Giunta, the Global Vice President of Cloud Computing & Cloud Service at CSC, feels that public cloud gives you the most bang for the buck, for now.  She explains that current private cloud users long for the on-demand execution that public cloud offers, and says that many enterprises would love to simply use Amazon's EC2 for their private cloud.  But Giunta points out that the current IT infrastructure of most companies is ill-prepared for the burden cloud computing creates.

While enterprise IT is pondering the answers to these core questions, the overwhelming benefits of public cloud services will drive businesses to adopt them more quickly than not. In a highly competitive, global marketplace, businesses with the agility to respond quickest to customers have the advantage, and public cloud services allow them to ramp up and ramp down to meet changing levels of demand in different geographies and markets.

-- Siki Giunta

Private Cloud

Dave Malcolm, Chief Technology Officer of Surgient, says the answer is clear:

Enterprise and government organizations maintain high standards for security, privacy, and cost management, while transforming their operations into a dynamic, flexible environment.  The best solution for them is the private cloud.

-- Dave Malcolm


This seems particularly true for larger corporations with existing IT infrastructure, which can be repurposed for private cloud use.  In this way, companies can maximize their existing infrastructure while also boosting the number of users it can support on a system designed to fit their company's needs.  A private cloud also provides a clear identity of ownership and responsibility should something go wrong (and we all know it will!).

So perhaps the answer lies somehwere in the middle, as Alan Conley at SiliconANGLE feels:

Most organizations will eventually use both private and public clouds. Private cloud because some things just shouldn’t move offsite for performance, privacy, and control. And public cloud because no one wants to pay for unused peak capacity all the time.

-- Alan Conley

 

What Does DevOps Need?


Before this becomes just another long-winded debate between Public and Private Cloud benefits, let's see how all this relates to DevOps.  What are the tools necessary for DevOps to be successful?

McKenty shows us why DevOps folks might want to consider private cloud:

They need infinite amounts of flexible infrastructure, that can be cloned without having to talk to humans. They need cloud. And they would happily fire up an account on Rackspace Cloud or AWS for this purpose, but really, do you want snapshots of the worst vulnerabilities in your internal infrastructure uploaded to minimally-secured public cloud servers?

-- Joshua McKenty

So DevOps people might want to consider a mix of private and public cloud: a public cloud for common tasks like customer relationship managament, and a secure, private cloud for sensitive data and research and development.