Farmington Hills, MI, July 24, 2012 – Private clouds are quickly gaining in popularity. In fact, according to a Gartner Data Center Conference Poll* (December 2011),78 percent of enterprises responded “yes” when asked, “Will your enterprise be pursuing a private cloud computing strategy by 2014?” The first step when pursuing a private cloud strategy is to develop a foundation of understanding that combines the business objectives with a realistic evaluation of where IT’s capabilities are today, and then to implement a strategy that methodically and incrementally matches those objectives. To help, Logicalis, an international IT solutions and managed services provider, today unveiled a “Private Cloud Foundation Checklist” outlining 14 key technology areas CIOs should address before delivering on the promise of a private cloud.
“Transitioning an IT infrastructure to take advantage of cloud computing – public or private – is a long journey that passes through a lot of uncharted territory in most IT departments,” says Mike Martin, vice president, Cloud Solutions, for Logicalis. “The key to success is developing a strategy that aligns short-term needs with long-term goals.”
The challenge is upgrading, revising, and in some cases creating the variety of systems that need to work together to realize a company’s private cloud ambitions. IT managers must examine the business’ existing IT infrastructure and policies to determine where they fall along the spectrum of cloud-readiness capabilities.
Private Cloud Foundation Checklist
- Server Hardware: Certain types of server platforms contribute to the dynamic provisioning capabilities required to implement cloud services in an IT environment. Blade-based servers and scalable servers that lend themselves to large virtualized workloads are good choices.
- Storage: SAN-based storage that provides the ability to implement advanced features such as remote copy services, snapshots and cloning are ideal. Appropriate connectivity methods for the size and scope of the workloads—such as Fiber Channel or FCOE—are also critical.
- Networking: A flexible structured network environment which supports converged networking, 10 Gbps Ethernet, flexible security, and load balancing functionality is important for cloud-based architectures.
- Data Backup Systems: A dynamic cloud environment can place additional requirements on enterprise backup solutions. Integration with virtualization platforms and advanced scheduling capabilities are highly desirable to prevent performance and scaling issues.
- Virtualization: Virtualization is not a requirement for cloud-based environments, but a mature virtualized infrastructure can significantly reduce the time to implement cloud functionality.
- System Management/Monitoring: A mature system management infrastructure is the key to smooth operation as well as troubleshooting and objective measurements of performance.
- Service Orchestration: Service orchestration – the ability to centrally control the tasks required to deploy, document, and retire systems in a cloud environment – is critical to reduce deployment time, and to drive higher levels of consistency and efficiencies into a cloud environment.
- Configuration Management: Configuration management tools can illustrate the interactions and dependencies between servers and applications and help ensure compliance with corporate and industry governance rules and regulations.
- Chargeback/Showback: Chargeback/Showback assigns costs to the consumption of IT resources (i.e., hardware, floor space, power/cooling, licensing, and IT personnel), ensuring that users don’t take “self provisioning” to mean “instant gratification.”
- Performance/Capacity Planning Tools: These tools are used to predict growth patterns and to run simulated growth scenarios to proactively determine when capital investments are needed.
- Service Catalog: A service catalog is a list of IT services that an organization provides to its employees or customers; the catalog describes each service, the SLAs associated with the service, who is entitled to the service, and the costs associated with the service.
- Change Management/CMDB: The configuration management database (CMDB) – a fundamental component of the ITIL framework’s configuration management process – maps key component relationships and tracks their configuration.
- Adoption of SaaS: The appeal of Software as a Service (SaaS) – hosted applications – has resulted in business units subscribing to SaaS applications outside of IT. Extending governance to include renegade SaaS needs to be addressed in a private cloud strategy.
- PaaS Management of Key Applications: Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions liberate the deployment of applications from the underlying hardware, software and provisioning capabilities, supporting the complete lifecycle of building and delivering web applications and services in the cloud and simplifying the deployment, scaling and management of multi-tier applications and multi-tenant environments.
All of these systems are mutually dependent and must interact smoothly to produce a fully functional private cloud environment. The good news is that they don’t have to be tackled all at once. The goal is to address each one when it makes both technological and financial sense to do so.
*(n = 150); Source: Gartner, Inc.,Top Five Trends for Private Cloud Computing, Thomas J. Bittman, February 14, 2012.