From The Editor | April 18, 2011

A Map Into The Private Cloud

Webinar: Cloud 101

By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor

So with all the talk about cloud, two tactical truths seem to have floated to the top. One, companies of all sizes will find great value in the cloud. Two, they will start in far different places on their path. For SMBs and smaller midmarket organizations, both hybrid and public cloud endeavors will be popular. For large enterprise businesses, it is quite likely that private cloud is the better option.

If you work with customers that fall into that latter category, take heed. A new book should provide valuable insight into just that opportunity. Visible Operations Private Cloud: From Virtualization to Private Cloud in 4 Practical Steps presents a four-phased approach for managing the development and rollout of a private cloud written with input and anecdotes from enterprise IT executives and data center managers responsible for the success of private cloud initiatives.

The book was written by Kurt Milne, director of the IT Process Institute, an independent research organization; Andi Mann, VP of product marketing, CA Technologies; and Jeanne Morain, director of strategic alliances, cloud, and virtualization, Flexera Software. I had an opportunity to sneak a peak at the book last week, as well as chat with Milne and Mann about its value to channel companies. Mann, with whom I've discussed virtualization trends several times this year, says the book is geared to provide a plan for virtual deployments by exposing common mistakes and providing real-life tactical advice.

"We have talked about private clouds for some time, but the concern is about how to get there," explains Mann. "That companies want to be on the path to the cloud is clear, but there doesn't seem to be an actual roadmap." With the ITPI's access to research, and CA's technical skill set, it seems natural to partner on a book providing advice to the channel on making the adoption of virtual technologies that support private cloud deployments go more smoothly. "We want to make these private cloud endeavors successful," adds Milne. "Our aim is the help them get it right the first time. We talked with a lot of people in very different stages of the private cloud journey, and many said that while they were successful now, they had be forced to re-architect several times to get it right."

Best practices for both technology and organization resources are found within the four phases of deployment:

  • Phase 1 – Cut through the cloud clutter: plan and communicate objectives, manage initial proof of concept efforts, and develop competency roadmaps.
  • Phase 2 – Design services, not systems: design business optimized cloud services, enable one-touch service ordering, and implement a repeatable approach for build and deploy.
  • Phase 3 – Orchestrate and optimize resources: update monitoring and alerting, deploy a policy engine to codify response, automate resource changes and workload moves.
  • Phase 4 – Align and accelerate business results: complete transition to a resource rental model, reshape consumption behavior, and streamline response to changing business needs.

One surprising takeaway from the book's research, says Milne, was the realization that for many enterprise companies, the private cloud costs less than going with the public cloud. "With the public cloud, these companies still need internal resources, and have to overcome hurdles such as security tied to compliance drivers," he explains. Because existing internal resources can be repurposed with the private cloud, many organizations are taking that tack, learning how to make private cloud work, and tweaking the resources and policies needed to handle cloud.

As the public cloud resolves issues such as security, Milne and Mann expect to see more enterprise customers tackle a hybrid approach. "Some are really struggling to justify external cloud when they have a data center of underutilized equipment, and yet, they have to do something because the agility enables by the cloud provides a competitive edge."

The book is currently available worldwide from the IT Process Institute and from Amazon.com.

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