Saturday, September 29, 2012

Is Private Cloud More Cloudy?

Think defining business cases, modifying change control to meet automated demands and a general shift in management strategies.

Cloud becomes mainstream: majority of businesses no matter large or small, have stepped in Cloud, especially public cloud service, to share computer resources, and improve business agility; However, security,  privacy and service availability., etc are still main concerns to adopt to public Cloud, that’s why private cloud fill out such gap, Forrester Research projects that private cloud market will grow from roughly $ 8 billion in 2011 to nearly double that by 2020. But as an emerging trend, private Cloud maturity still faces some barriers psychologically, methodologically and technically.  Both Information Week and Info World private Cloud surveys & report share some good insight and success stories: 

1. Seven Takeaways from Private Cloud:

  • The idea behind private cloud is to pool computer, storage and network resources and manage them from a central software control point rather than scrambling to provision, monitor, manage and reconfigure all that infrastructure manually. Breaking down the elements of the private cloud include metering and chargeback systems, automated configuration and self-service provisioning

  • IW Survey Result: 72% of the respondents to InformationWeek 2012 Private Cloud Survey who have clouds today call their efforts a success; for 13%, the adjective “complete” applies. And the majority of these projects took 18 months or less and cost 30% or less of the overall IT budget; 27% spent less than 10%. The result: data centers that are more responsive and efficient with reduced capital and operational costs. Private clouds relying heavily on virtualization and automation let IT manage data center resources and applications easily and at scale.

  • Self-Service: The secret to automation and orchestration and, ultimately, a self-service portal is the holy grail of private cloud—developer can configure and reconfigure their own dev/test environment; BU can even order and install applications which are automatically provisioned and made available without IT necessarily being involved. For magic self-service portal to work, you need automation, and orchestration assembles those automated tasks into predefined workflows for specific applications or services.

  • Application management and monitoring:  The template is provided for deploying and configuring application, but also monitoring and reporting on application performance to meet internal SLA requirements with dashboards to supply admins with insight they need to deliver on the commitment.At advanced level, monitoring may trigger auto-scaling; it used to take months to provision new servers, now business can do it in hours, the private cloud has brought agility back to business.

  • Quickly Recover from Failure: Practically speaking, “Cloud-enabled” just means that application components can be scaled up and down as demand changes, moving enterprise applications into a private cloud should buy you some uptime benefits. One big perk of server virtualization is the ability to quickly recover from failure.

  • Charge Back as good management practices: OpenStack—have built-in capacity-rights management capabilities that allow IT to define rules on how many VMs can be built and the resources that can be consumed, to either charge back to the department or to make managers aware of their IT costs;  (58%) of those building private clouds say they plan to either actually charge departments for IT services rendered or use chargeback data for cost awareness. Such practices help build up the trust level between IT and business constituents;

  • The big takeaway: Those with private clouds experience more efficient use of hardware and superior scalability and reliability, they make better use of IT’s resource & time. These are all measurable benefits that can make IT department shine in the eyes of users and the CFO. Those with private clouds also report success in lowering capital and operational costs and total cost of ownership

2. Three Keys to Success in Migrating into Private Cloud

The number of new processes IT needs to build a private cloud is daunting—think defining business cases, modifying change control to meet automated demands and a general shift in management strategies—and then you still need new products, CMDBs and orchestration platforms to tie everything together, is it worth it?

(1)  Have a well thought-out migration plan

One of the first (and often most difficult) steps when building a private cloud is to figure
out what, exactly, is running in data center environment by creating an inventory of all applications, from software used for IT operations to enterprise systems, and mapping
their dependencies. 73% of respondents whose organizations require private cloud support in new applications stipulate dynamic scaling—the nature of scale-out features means that static dependencies get in the way of dynamically adding or removing components. Get a handle on what integration features the IT operations vendors offer—such as APIs and  SDK (software developer kits)—as well as the protocols supported for distributed management.

(2)  People Power

Having skilled employees was the No. 2 challenge faced by those with private clouds
and an anticipated trial for those beginning to build. Business need talent and skills to manage and provision cloud service, IT group is going to do fairly sophisticated operation, application automation,  server provisioning and de-provisioning and service management.

(3) Updating the current infrastructure

Finally, 49% of respondents with private clouds say that updating the current infrastructure was a challenge. Pay the technical debt now and get a handle on the gap between current data center capabilities and the ones you need to have in place and your cloud rollout will go smoother.  Make sure new software can leverage the scaling and reliability features of private cloud.

3. More IW Survey Result:

(a) Private Cloud Issue
  • Lack of standards
  • Managing software and VM OS licensing
  • Integrating new hardware and software
  • Controlling VM sprawl
  • Increased troubleshooting difficulty
  • Increased operational cost/complexity
  • Orchestrating new application/VM deployments
  • Orphaned applications

(b) Anticipated Challenges When Launching a Private Cloud
  • Integrating existing IT products
  • Acquiring employee skill sets
  • Acquiring cloud software and hardware
  • Updating our current infrastructure
  • Managing automation
  • Making the business case for private cloud
  • Employee resistance
  • Inventorying existing applications and services
  • Creating run-books

© Potential Private Cloud Issues:
  • Lack of standards
  • Controlling VM sprawl
  • Integrating new hardware and software
  • Increased capital costs
  • Increased operational cost/complexity
  • Inability to hire and maintain staff with the necessary skills
  • Increased troubleshooting difficulty
  • Orphaned applications
  • Vendor lock-in to a private cloud product set or partner program
  • Maintaining private cloud software
  • Orchestrating new application/VM deployments
  • Managing software and VM OS licensing
  • Runaway automated processes

(d) Important Feature when Selecting Private Cloud Technology
  • Application performance management
  • Capacity rights management
  • Audit logs
  • Application mobility
  • VM mobility
  • Demand-based auto-scaling
  • Application deployment templates
  • Self-service portal
  • Delegated administration
  • Support hybrid mode (public/private cloud)
  • Service catalog
  • Run-book automation
  • Bare-metal provisioning
  • Chargeback

(e) Reasons for Not Using or Phasing Out Public Cloud Services
  • Security/privacy concerns
  • Regulatory compliance or legal restrictions
  • Inability to ensure application availability
  • Inability to ensure SLA commitments
  • Peak loads could wipe out cost savings
  • Other

4. More Argument about Private Cloud

(a) Is there Standards Gap in Private Cloud?

There are few cloud-specific standards today, but when you’re building a private cloud,
integration is more about getting Product A talking to Product B, if your private cloud is basically lots of virtualization and little or no automation, and orchestration, then you aren’t gaining the benefits you could. Only when automation and orchestration hit their stride will you begin to enjoy full operational efficiencies.

(b) Who owns hardware equipment in private cloud?

The cloud’s greatest asset is its use of commodity equipment, so that operators are able to offer bulk wholesale prices to the customer. Some cloud expert argues: a true private cloud means you don’t own the equipment or have to maintain it yourself. A third-party provider is exclusively running resources on your behalf. You have control over the hardware, and it’s not shared with any other clients, but you don’t own the hardware and are not responsible for provisioning it or entering into multiple vendor contracts in order to implement it. Furthermore, the term ‘cloud’ should not be used unless you are accessing infrastructure or software via the web.

© Is Private Cloud for every organization? 

Private Cloud is more complex, expensive, and time consuming, it requires strategic planning and architecture designing. Some also argue: is it only for F100 enterprises, or small or medium size organizations can also benefit from it?

5. Cloud Forecast: Bright or Cloudy

One of the biggest burdens in today's IT organization is that with the explosion in
applications and their underlying server, storage, and networking technology, managing the infrastructure is placing a greater burden on IT staff than ever before, that’s in which private cloud can bring up value, that also make cloud forecast overall bright with cautious optimism.

The biggest barrier to successful cloud adoption may be psychological: the mentality of IT managers, as it’s new way to run IT,  communicating is key to business units at corporate level, without collaboration and cooperation cross-functional silos, any cloud effort is doomed to fail.

Still, Cloud is journey, not a sprint, especially for private cloud, it need long term strategy and well-thought out migration planning, it also need build up strong business cases, vendor relationship, deep analyze value/cost/risk on one side, and IT efficiency/Effectiveness/Agility on the other side, and demand skilled talent to achieve high performance agility in Cloud.


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