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The First Private Cloud Decision You Got To Make


The First Private Cloud Decision You Got To Make


by Sasha Gilenson

Private cloudToday, most organizations are in the process of considering, testing or piloting private cloud for limited applications. But only very few organizations run fully operational private cloud platforms. Eric Domage, programme manager for EMEA software and service group at IDC, expects that "the decision in the next year or two will only be about the private cloud. The bigger the company, the more they will consider the private cloud. The enterprise cloud is locked down and totally managed. It is the closest replication of virtualisation."

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. 

Thomas J. Bittman, VP Distinguished Analyst, Gartner, explained "The business case for private cloud really requires the business to be involved. If the business, for some reason, sees no value in speed and agility, private cloud is likely a wasted investment. I've seen examples of private clouds deployed by IT without business involvement, and then – surprise, surprise – no one used it. Cloud Fail."(Private Cloud and Hot Tubs)

From organizations we observed, there are several examples of services they are running in private clouds.

On-Demand Provisioning Of a "Clean" Virtual Machine

There is a number of standard operating system images that a user can choose to spin off. Typically IT narrows down user requirements to no more than just a handful of images. The machines are used by internal teams for development, testing and production of non-critical systems. The users are actually responsible for the setup and support of software infrastructure and applications running on top of the operating system

Provisioning of a Software Infrastructure On-Demand

An example of such service could be spin off of a database server, an application server or some kind of software component and server combination. Organizations find that a number of required configurations are much greater than in the operating system case. This happens due to the specific requirements imposed by existing business applications on the underlying infrastructure.

Transition of a Business System To The Elastic Infrastructure

This setup is practically transparent to the business users that just enjoy better performance and stability. However implementation of a business system in private cloud has direct impact on the associated operational costs.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

A user is able to get application access on-demand either through a dedicated or shared application instance. We saw several examples of such services in organizations – SharePoint, BI systems, IT management tools etc. Architecturally such services are very sophisticated as automatic scalability management is required to provision on-demand and further operate the applications.

Decide What's Best for You

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. 

"There are a lot of misperceptions about what it takes to get your private cloud investments right and drive adoption by your developers...your cloud should be smaller than you think, priced cheaper than the ROI math would justify and actively marketed internally," says James Staten, VP Forrester (Getting private cloud right takes unconventional thinking).

In summary, it's critical for organizations to look beyond and not just get caught up in the hype of private cloud, but make informed decisions so that private cloud solutions that are deployed will be suitable for your business's situations.

Your Turn
What will be your decision to take the next step with private clouds?

About the Author
Sasha Gilenson
Sasha Gilenson enjoyed a long and successful career at Mercury Interactive (acquired by HP), having led the company's QA organization, participating in establishing Mercury's Software as a Service (SaaS), as well as leading a Business Unit in Europe and Asia.

Sasha played a key role in the development of Mercury's worldwide Business Technology Optimization (BTO) strategy and drove field operations of the Wireless Business Unit, all while taking on the duties as the Mercury's top "guru" in quality processes and IT practices domain. In this capacity, Sasha has advised numerous Fortune 500 companies on technology and process optimization, and in turn, acquired a comprehensive and rare knowledge of the market and industry practices.

Sasha holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Latvian University and MBA from London Business School.