Private Cloud Management Challenges
Traditional practice within IT has been mostly manual processes—optimized for people carrying out commodity IT tasks such as provisioning servers and OSes. The high pace of change and activity in today's data center has created hype around private cloud computing, elevating manual activity to automated and orchestrated tasks.
The private cloud market is heating up as plenty of advantages to enterprises in industries with higher-level security and compliance requirements are being offered. While the attraction is high, private cloud implementations significantly differ from those of public clouds, making it difficult for some to decide when the right time is to adopt private cloud technology..
Lauren E. Nelson, Forrester's private infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud lead, in her article Private Cloud: 'Everyone's Got One. Where's Yours?' writes about the quick fixes taken for implementing private cloud, explaining that external pressures make it hard to think about private cloud strategically.
What are the challenges to private cloud? How should they be overcome?
Automate Change Management
In the article, Nelson says, "Executives across the globe feel peer and competitive pressure to 'get to yes' on private cloud. This burden falls on IT to provide a cloud solution — oh, and by the way, we need it by the end of the year."
We recently explored the first decisions you need to make for implementing private cloud in The First Private Cloud Decision You Got To Make, saying that "One of the first decisions that organizations must make about private cloud is: what is the scope of private cloud services to be offered? The desired scope of service will affect the complexity of implementation, robustness of the service and ease of service management. As with many other things, it's a tradeoff between complexity of the service and ease of its operation. Typically we see companies starting at the level of "clean" virtual machines and evolving from there over time to SaaS. Clearly SaaS provides the ultimate value to business by delivering rapidly and cost efficiently robust and scalable business systems. Some systems will be developed from scratch providing native support for the cloud."
Make Change Management a Continuous Improvement Process
Nelson explains that "Promising the business a cloud delivered within your own data center, and then failing to provide basic functionality of a cloud will just make future initiatives and interactions even harder."
We explored how this approach can be adopted in IT Operations in our piece, Rollout And Rollback – A Viable Strategy?, suggesting that "we can conclude that management of the actual environment configuration and the changes that happen in the environment is critical for successfully operating in private clouds. To fully realize private cloud in the enterprise, organizations need a solution that can identify changes in near real-time, at a comprehensive and detailed level, to facilitate these deployment approaches."
Speed Up the Change Management Process
Nelson added how "But once you look under the hood it's hard to miss. These self-proclaimed private clouds often use pieces of the management and automation capabilities but aren't using the full functionality of these solutions"
We looked at the critical areas of private cloud management in our recent article, 3 Painful Real World Private Cloud Challenges, where we explored how "private cloud presents an opportunity to tremendously increase the agility of IT, allowing the IT organization to rapidly and efficiently respond to changing business requirements, yet it introduces new management challenges to IT operations with the amount of manual changes drastically decreasing, 100% automation is still difficult to achieve. Components face rapid changes, making them into moving targets in the dark."
Tackling Change Management Strategy Challenges
The Forrester blog article looks at the following issues for private cloud management.
- Allow "self-service access" for a small cloud team, with the business still using a ticket-based system.
- Make possible partial automation where IT is still involved in the provisioning of cloud resources.
- Make resource tracking reports available to the end user and costs associated with usage presented to the requestor.