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It’s Time to Forge a Consensus on Cloud

Ever since the emergence of cloud, there’s been fierce debate about which architecture is best. Public and private cloud both have their advocates. To get more insight into this subject, we carried out a worldwide survey of IT decision makers and infrastructure professionals in 2018. 1 The findings showed a clear preference for one type of cloud architecture. And they revealed strong differences of opinion between IT decision makers, infrastructure administrators, and developers about the pros and cons of different cloud models.

Private is the pinnacle

To determine which cloud model our respondents preferred, we invited them to state which architecture best met their needs. Across every area, private cloud was chosen over public cloud. Security and protection from malicious attacks were standouts – the respondents said that they felt more comfortable doing security on their own than with a cloud provider.

The respondents also showed a strong preference for private cloud when they were asked which architecture should be used to achieve specific outcomes. 82% said they favoured private cloud for elasticity, while 83% said that private clouds offered greater scalability than public clouds. And a staggering 90% said that they were more comfortable storing their company’s data assets in a private cloud than a public cloud.

A lack of consensus

But the responses were particularly telling when we asked people in different roles to answer the same question. Developers were less excited by the ability of the public cloud to address security issues than IT decision makers. This may be because developers live and breathe security every day. And infrastructure administrators felt that the public cloud was harder to manage than decision makers. Given that infrastructure administrators, by their nature, focus on on-premise infrastructure, this finding wasn’t too surprising.

We also looked at each persona’s attitude towards performance. It quickly became clear that infrastructure administrators were less enamoured with the performance of public clouds than decision makers. Again, we believe that this goes back to what these people do every day. Part of their job is to eke every IOPS out of a storage array with knobs that don’t exist in the public cloud.

Finally, we looked at attitudes towards storing sensitive data in the cloud. The results showed strong regional differences. For example, companies in Asia-Pacific are much more comfortable about storing sensitive data in the public cloud than their counterparts in the US and Europe. This may be down to the EU’s view of certain providers and how they handle data, as well as mistrust of data laws in the US. Regardless of the reasons, EMEA companies are more comfortable with private cloud deployments than public cloud ones.

So, what can we glean from all of this? Well, it’s unequivocally clear that most businesses prefer private cloud over public. It’s also apparent that developers, IT decision makers, and infrastructure administrators value some aspects of private cloud over others. And while that might be professionally satisfying, it isn’t good for the industry. To get the most out of cloud technology, all parties need to come together, move beyond their biases, and find common ground.

1 2018 State of the Enterprise Datacentre, ActualTech Media Research in partnership with Nutanix