Many have argued that for enterprise organisations, the best use of cloud computing technology is to build a ‘private cloud’, a dedicated data centre that is highly virtualised and from which IT functions can therefore be consumed on a utility basis.
Now, examples of this theory being put into practice are beginning to materialise.
Speaking at analyst company Forrester’s IT Forum conference this week, defence and aerospace manufacturer BAE Systems revealed how its ‘private cloud’ – built and managed by IT services provider CSC – has allowed the it to reposition the IT department as an internal cloud provider.
“We began seeing our infrastructure as a commodity service and not a strategic asset,” said the company’s chief IT strategist Charles Newhouse, Computing reports today.
IT services are now provisioned through a web portal, and each department receives a bill for their usage at the end of the month. The main barrier to this move was cultural, Newhouse explained, with one IT employee describing the change as “professional emasculation”.
Swedish insurance company Skandia this week signed what is claimed to be a ‘private cloud’ deal with IT services provider Logica.
Under the three-year, €15 million deal, Skandia’s IT organisation will be able to procure “capacity on-demand”, meaning that if it requires systems beyond original scope of the project, it can pay for them only as and when they are needed, according to a press statement.
‘Private cloud’ is typical of the nebulous world of cloud computing in that a precise definition has yet to be agreed upon. In some ways, it is a simply an extension of the trend towards virtualisation and consolidation in the data centre.
However, ‘private cloud’ advocates argue that the elastic scalability of systems afforded by virtualisation allows organisations to operate their IT departments as internal service providers.
“Unlike service oriented architecture, virtualisation allows you to provide ‘IT as a service’ without rewriting your applications,” said Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, at a recent London press conference.