Three steps to a private cloud

So you want to run a private cloud? Here are a few steps to take for you to make this a success.

The first step is to answer the question: why? Which business benefits of cloud computing are you after and why can’t you use public cloud solutions to fulfill them?

If you want to set up a private cloud to keep your existing system admins busy, you need to think again. Private cloud is a lot harder then it seems, especially if you want to do it right. You will need to invest in your IT staff.

The two main reasons for operating a private cloud infrastructure solely for your organization are capacity guarantees and security/compliance.

On top of that you are likely to want the business advantages that stem from public clouds’ essential characteristics: broad network access, rapid elasticity, measured service, on-demand self-service and resource pooling. Even though you won’t pool resources with other organizations, if you don’t share resources over business units and projects, there will be little benefit.

Once you know these expected benefits and characteristics you can move to phase two. You translate these into the features of your private cloud, and you need to figure out what processes and tooling you need.

You probably want metering and chargeback, automated configuration and self-service provisioning. These do not come with your basic VMware license. They require separate software, and processes to run them across projects and applications. Next, think of the skilled staff necessary for its set up and operation.

All of this is not trivial to do. Take for example security. Traditional security measures based on segmented networks and fixed firewalls no longer apply. And you are creating a new and very sensitive role: the private cloud administrator with top level root access.

Then in the third phase, you can start to move your applications to your private cloud. This is where your benefits are going to be. But expect a bumpy ride, not all applications move easily to the cloud.

If you need more detailed inside into private cloud, you can consider my Virtualization Essentials course, which covers server, storage and application virtualization and more.


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