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EMC: Public cloud ‘limits choice and control' for enterprises

Businesses will continue to invest in ‘secure' on-premises infrastructure

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Enterprise customers will continue to invest in 'secure' on-premise infrastructure as public clouds limit choice and IT departments remain unwilling to relinquish control of sensitive data, according to EMC's head of advanced software, Amitabh Srivastava.

"People like the public clouds for two reasons: one is simplicity, and the second is economics," said Srivastava, speaking to media and analysts at EMC World in Las Vegas. "They [public cloud providers] have done a good job in simplifying how you buy cloud and use it, and they have done a good job on the economics aspect of it, but at a cost of limiting choice and losing control."

He added: "On the other hand, if you look at private cloud it has two big advantages: it offers the control and security needed by a lot of the applications we are talking about, especially in the enterprise space, which needs both the control and the security."

Last year, leading infrastructure as a service providers Amazon Web Services took aim at the 'old guard' IT vendors, which it claimed continue to invest in "archaic" on-premise infrastructure and have failed to keep pace with the growing acceptance of public cloud among enterprise customers.

However, Srivastava believes that there will always be reasons to keep data on-site.

"There are going to be certain workloads enterprises are going to move to the cloud. Public clouds are not bad things, they do a lot of things right. But it is a mistake to think it is applicable for everything," he told ComputerworldUK.

"If you are a bank, you can't put your information on AWS. Enterprises with critical data are not going to move it to the public cloud, because it is their core business, they will die if somehow that data gets leaked out."

Srivastava, who was previously employed as head of cloud platforms at Microsoft Azure, was speaking as the vendor launched its Elastic Cloud Storage appliance, a hyperscale storage system that enterprises can set-up at their own data centres

The ECS platform, built on EMC's software defined storage system ViPR, is able to hold exabytes of data, just as large cloud providers can. Each rack can contain up to 2.9 petabytes, and can be linked automatically across a number of locations to store object, HDFS and block data.

Srivastava claims that, despite continued price drops by the large infrastructure as a service providers including Google Compute Engine, AWS and Microsoft Azure, it is still possible to beat the public cloud providers on price with an on-premise system. EMC claims that total cost of ownership for its ECS appliance can offer up to 28 percent savings from Google and AWS, with large-scale implementations creating the biggest price difference.

"We are trying to bring the hyperscale capabilities that were limited to the public clouds of the very large scale companies, and offer them to enterprises of all sizes," he said.


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