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Total Guide to Private Cloud:

ZeroOps for Cloud on Prem

Managed Cloud, On-Premises or Anywhere, Delivered as a Service

Time to read: 28 minutes

1. Beat cloud costs and complexity

Open source cloud-on-prem gives you cloud benefits without the downsides

Renewed focus on private cloud: Private cloud is mandatory for many organizations. Your workloads and processes may require levels of access control, data security, or performance that public clouds can’t meet. Or you may need to host workloads across distributed facilities, or close to customers at the network edge. Even where private cloud isn’t mandated for technical reasons, many organizations are discovering that repatriating workloads from public to private clouds can be a valuable strategy for cost control (see ‘The flight from public cloud,’ below).

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So private cloud – an asset in which many organizations are still heavily invested – is (re-)emerging as a focus of enterprise digital transformation, often as part of an overall hybrid cloud strategy, which enables you to coordinate public and private cloud infrastructure and interoperate between them.

The price of cloud failure is high

But cloud is complicated: on-prem clouds can be costly and difficult to choose, build, and operate. And many current and potential cloud users think they only have two choices: do-it-yourself or buying a proprietary solution from a single vendor.

Beat the system

But modern managed-service strategies and anti-fragile cloud architectures can help you beat the system. You can get future-proofed, open-source-based, on-premises cloud, use it “as a service,” save money, and focus on the applications that generate value for your business.


You get things done

Predictable costs and timelines

Reduced risks (such as application non-availability, data loss, security incidents)

An enterprise-wide, consistent, future-proofed cloud strategy for technical efficiency, security, compliance

Significantly lower TCO

Improved ability to compete by delivering apps that matter


Your developers get things done

Faster delivery of better applications

Better use of existing skills

A much easier time with ‘DevOps’ tasks such as CI/CD, application operations, observability, fault mitigation, and so on.

Two Roads to Cloud Failure

DIY is not the way.Many do-it-yourself cloud building projects fail. Others produce lackluster ROI in exchange for years of effort. Work begun to accelerate application delivery ends up distracting from it, making cloud operations the focus instead of business value.

Single-vendor, proprietary cloud can be a trap. Proprietary, single-vendor cloud builds, meanwhile, can lock you in. You live within the vendor’s roadmap. You train and certify people on their offerings. You license their whole stack (which may include the operating system and other fundamentals) and then manage those licenses. You expand your headcount to run and scale and update your cloud. And you conform your vision of cloud’s future (such as container software development, DevOps automation, Kubernetes, and so on) to what they say it’s going to be. It may feel ‘safe,’ but you surrender a lot of freedom this way, slowing down your own evolution and paying a ton of money for the privilege.


Your cloud operators get things done

Smooth, reliable operations and high application availability (no 3AM wake-up calls, no unplanned downtime, no security incidents)

A clear path to cost-effective, developer-and-ops friendly hybrid and public cloud utilization, and cost controls

A straightforward path to adding real value through standardization and automation

The flight from public cloud

According to InfoWorld and the Wall Street Journal, a decade or more into the “cloud revolution,” initial hopes for public cloud – that promised paradise of platforms-on-demand, simplified operations, and pay-by-use cost efficiencies – have failed to materialize for most users. In fact, costs and complexity of public cloud services are rising fast. And fully-burdened costs of public cloud efforts (for example, for AWS- or Azure-certified engineers in a highly-competitive labor market) are rising as well.

Andreessen-Horowitz agrees. In a report published last year, titled The Cost of Cloud: A Trillion-Dollar Paradox, analysts Sarah Wang and Martin Casado point out that for heavy public cloud users, cloud costs are increasingly unsupportable – private cloud is looking like a much-more-affordable bet. They note that as early as 2017, Dropbox’s S-1 showed a $75M savings from “repatriating” workloads to private cloud from public cloud hyperscalers. In general, organizations will see a minimum of around 40% savings for a given VM by putting it on private cloud (including proportional costs for block storage and bandwidth).

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Total Cost of VM with Block Storage and Bandwidth — Public Cloud vs Managed Private Cloud

All this is summarized in a recent article by Basecamp and HEY’s David Heinemeier Hansson, titled “Why we’re Leaving the Cloud.” Hansson argues that public cloud is great for two use-cases: simple, singular, low-traffic apps with no customers yet (where you do save some on complexity and cost of entry vs. on-premises solutions) or popular apps with highly “bursty” traffic (where you never know if you need ten servers or 100).

For customers who need to maintain diverse IT estates with more predictable traffic, public cloud complexity remains burdensome, and charging a massive premium for basic resources and services.