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The Path to Private Cloud

Whether due to the risk of having corporate data on the public cloud, visions of IT self-service for the organization, embracing the promise of big data and how to pull it all together, or just the recognition that IT must become more relevant to the organization; the move towards private cloud is now.  This movement though requires a fundamental shift in how you build out your data center over the next couple of years.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that you are on the public cloud, whether intentionally or via black-ops IT.  Public Cloud experience is a necessary prerequisite to understanding how you want your private cloud to operate.  Essentially, in developing your private cloud, you are creating IT as a Service and experience with the public cloud helps you understand and answer the questions of:

  • To what degree you will offer self-service to the organization?  Will it be open only to developers or will you provide access to end users in a Software as a Service model?
  • How you will provide for charge-back (or show back)?  Will departments have responsibility for their IT spend? 
  • What limitation (or standardizations) will you place on the platforms supported?  Will you standardize a specific set of development tools?
  • Will BYOD and Desktop as a Service be a part of your offering?
  • What applications are cloud ready, and what work is required to get them ready?

These are all questions you will need to address as you build out your private cloud offering.  And that is only one component of the equation.  You’ll need to make the determination of self-managed vs. outsourced private cloud and determine whether to build the private cloud on-premise or off.  There are many points to consider however the following are some key points to consider.

 

Private Cloud Locations:  Private clouds exist in two formats.  Either operated and controlled by IT on-premise or hosted by a third party provider either on-premise or remotely.  It is a common misconception that a hosted private cloud exists at a remote location.  In reality, many companies are exploring a hosted on-premise private cloud solution placing security of the infrastructure behind the corporate firewall while allowing for a monthly consumption model.  This can be an excellent solution for companies that have determined they want to move to an OpEx financial model for IT.

 

Skill Set:  On one hand, the capability to manage a cloud based infrastructure is lacking in many organizations, especially around OpenStack.  On the other hand, IT leadership is moving towards automating routine infrastructure processes allowing their employees to perform more strategic work that creates direct value to the organization.  The question you ultimately need to ask:  “is IT a core competency to the success of our business”.  If the answer is no, outsourced Private Cloud may be the answer.  Outsourcing Private Cloud allows IT to deliver value to the company through the high availability of infrastructure and platforms allowing for rapid application development and deployment pushing the day to day infrastructure management to a third party. 

Growth:  Many companies are experiencing unprecedented growth, faster than IT can respond.  They simply can’t stand up infrastructure and provision applications fast enough.  A managed private cloud allows IT to provide the immediate infrastructure to provision application to support the company’s growth.

Data Center Capacity:  Do we enlarge or upgrade our facility, purchase denser servers and storage, or look towards hosted private clouds as the solution.  For most companies, CapEx spend on additional data centers is not an option for most companies.  If anything, they would prefer to reduce the size of the data center.  For those companies, external private clouds are the preferred solution. 

CapEx vs. OpEx:  CFO’s are making hard choices between paying up front investments in technology, or looking towards a pay-as-you-go model for technology acquisition.  Private cloud fits extremely well into both categories with managed private cloud being a key solution for OpEx funding. Managed private cloud allows the organization to have infrastructure on site while paying in an OpEx format.

 

Ultimately, Private Clouds in the data center will be the standard; similar to how virtualization is ubiquitous throughout the data center.  And organizations that implement will possess a strategic advantage in the agility they provide for their organization.

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About Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott is a thought leader, cloud strategist and enterprise data center evangelist focusing on data center evolution with particular emphasis on private and hybrid clouds. Michael previously worked as Dell’s Cloud Evangelist representing Dell’s cloud portfolio and vision at customer meetings, media briefings, and industry conferences. Prior to that, Michael held marketing and consulting roles in the storage and telecom industry. Michael currently works for NetApp as their cloud strategist and evangelist. Michael started his career as a mainframe programmer for General Electric and held the role of adjunct professor of marketing at the University of Akron. Michael has a mathematics degree from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Michael’s recent work includes: • Participation in cloud industry panels and private equity discussions relating to the vision of cloud. • Business development activities with a focus on the enterprise data center. • Sales enablement and training on cloud positioning and how cloud impacts hardware and software sales. • Industry conference presentations including the Consumer Electronics Show, Cloud Computing East, Educause, and the Cloud Computing Association. • Presentation at the International Forum on Innovation and Emerging Industries Development in Shanghai, China

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