Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud: What’s the question again?

I often get asked about the comparison between the two dominant cloud models today. The question is typically framed as:

  1. Which of the two cloud models is superior?
  2. Isn’t the public cloud going to take over, eventually?

To me, this is almost equivalent of saying:

  • Won’t restaurants make home cooking obsolete?
  • Won’t hotels make home ownership obsolete?
  • Won’t car rental eventually become the only model of consuming cars?

All these options have existed for as long as one can remember, but none of them have made the alternative obsolete. In fact, both options have their rightful place in the world. If you are traveling to a different city, you need a hotel and rental car. There is no other alternative. Similarly, as much as one likes to eat out, it is too costly and will have an adverse effect on one’s health if done every day.

One of the common responses I hear is: “But, look at the growth of public clouds? ” It is almost an $8Billion market just after 8 years.

Now imagine a world without hotels and rental cars. Travel would be a nightmare in that world. Then, one day, some savvy entrepreneur opens a chain of hotels and car rentals. Obviously, it would be a very rapid success and a high growth business. It will be filling a much needed void in the market with a huge pent up demand. It would fit the use case of travel perfectly and any other alternative would seem much worse – only until options like AirBnB and Uber arise!

So, the real question is not which cloud model will eventually win or take over. The question to ask is: which model suits your business needs better. The answer is based on the kind of applications, use cases, performance requirements, security issues and data locality, amongst several other factors.

Instead of having a discussion on just the cloud models, I believe a more fruitful discussion for customers is to figure out the best use case for each of these cloud models and the best solution for their business.
Did someone just ask will containers take over the VMs:?

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