Private cloud: ironing out the confusion

I made a presentation at yesterday’s conference on Developments with the Digital Oilfield in London.

The title of my talk: “Why private cloud is a cul-de-sac of doom”. It was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and intended to be mildly provocative. However, I had a serious purpose, in that the words and terms we use to describe things are important in creating clarity and driving ideas. Misusing them dilutes their power and ultimately diminishes opportunities. In that context, the term “private cloud” is one that has minimal value and causes confusion.

In my talk, I referenced the NIST definition of cloud computing. My version of the three key elements that embody the transformational impact of the cloud:

  • A usage-based payment model, whether that’s per user, per cycle, per cpu, or whatever
  • Rapid elasticity, or the ability to seamlessly grow and shrink your demand without needing to stop to add new hardware or software
  • No barrier to exit or entry

Given these criteria, it is hard to imagine having the need or resources to build a private cloud. The NIST document states that private cloud applies when “the cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units)”. This is somewhat poor. It masks the reality of the situation and simply causes confusion. It also provides the opportunity for vendors to wrap up their existing technology and sell it under the new “private cloud” banner.

That confusion was already clear during the conference. One presenter claimed that they had built their own private cloud, and another claimed to have definitely seen one in the wild. What was being described in the first case was simply a data center built using cloud technologies. I suspect the latter was something similar.

I have no doubt that the use of cloud technologies can significantly improve many current data centres. There’s tremendous value in reserving the term “cloud” for services that meet the criteria I’ve outlined above. When we talk about moving a customer to the cloud, we can be sure that they are benefiting from the massive improvements that such a move can deliver, instead of the incremental improvements that arise from applying cloud technologies in their own data centres.

Latest Resources

EnergySys Appoint New Directors to UK Board as Part of Growth Plan

We are delighted to announce the appointment of two new Directors to the UK board. As part of a long-term growth plan, Kirsty and Stuart will help the business develop a strong partner network and support for oil and gas businesses looking at energy transition.

Screenshot of EnergySys and Power BI dashboards

Power BI and EnergySys: Ad Hoc Reporting

A quick introduction to the navigation and layout of the EnergySys Cloud Platform, this video explores the basics of getting around the user interface, including high-level navigation, modules, and the online manuals.

Software as a Service vs On-premises: Finding the True Value of SaaS

We have a fantastic relationship with AWS, relying on their infrastructure to power the EnergySys Cloud Platform. Together we have a strong history of delivering exceptional customer success in the energy industry. We currently hold data for over 56% of the North Sea Hydrocarbons and almost 70% of Australian production.