Five Best Practices for Private Cloud Computing

Industry experts state that private cloud computing enables enterprise IT executives to maximize their organization’s resources and align IT services with business needs while they wait for public cloud computing standards to become defined.

Even for enterprises that like to manage infrastructure and application in-house, building a private cloud is good practice. Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC, a research firm in Framingham, Massachusetts, says, “With virtualization and the private cloud, CIOs are much closer to that goal of efficient and dynamic IT service delivery and capability.”

Automation minimizes the IT staff’s involvement when the cloud is up and running and is thus a key goal. “The end user is the constituent who is going to leverage the workload for productive work,” says vice president for services and support at Surgient Inc. Brian Wilson. An Infrastructure as a Service provider in Austin, Texas, Surgient Inc. has deployed 150 private clouds for enterprises in the Fortune 500.

According to Wilson, the most important aspect of a private cloud is self-service. With that said, “a self-service portal does not guarantee self-service. Self-service needs to be layered on top of automation services.” CIOs need to consider the service’s design, definition, library and life-cycle. Additionally, the service should integrate applications which report usage for charge-back (preferable with an administrative dashboard and event broadcasting).

A private cloud doesn’t mean a less complex cloud, and as more enterprises launched their private clouds, best practices are beginning to emerge. Here is a list of five best practices for private cloud computing, according to Wilson:

1. Access

  • Evaluate current and planned hardware, hypervisors, network architecture and storage.
  • Understand corporate security standards and existing vendor relationships ad know where you vendors are going (so you don’t buy into dead-end technology).
  • Begin with a defined project and plan for scale, heterogeneity and change. Plan for and document your deployment plans using client-specific use cases and success criteria.

2. Deploy

  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer compares the usage curve for cloud computing to a hockey stick, so be prepared for the uptick by establishing a deployment schedule.
  • Ensure that essential content is available in a centralized library.
  • Introduce critical members of the team, finalize use cases and confirm the schedule from the beginning.
  • Dynamically manage IT policies by automating self-service provisioning of applications while remaining flexible and understanding of change.
  • Plan for on-site training.

3. Analyze

  • Review usage trends, resource consumption trends, server use and administration overhead–a step that is skipped often, according to Wilson.
  • Understand the metrics for RIO and TCO and gain executive buy-in with formal ROI evaluations monthly and quarterly.
  • Continue to evaluate your processes, as the cloud is a fundamental shift from traditional processes. Ask yourself if there is a better way to do this throughout the process.

4. Create Reusable Code

  • Plan your service catalog wisely by creating reusable building blocks of virtual machines and services.
  • Take the time to understand your users needs and plan for their experience, as your content is critical.
  • Take the centralized view that is possible with a private cloud; avoid discrete stacks and multiple operating systems.

5. Don’t Forget to Charge Back

  • According to Wilson, very few organizations actually charge back, even though one of the pillars of the cloud is its ability to meter services on an as-needed-basis.
  • Saint Luke’s Health System, for example, operates 11 hospitals and clinics in the Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan area. CIO Debe Gash opted for public cloud computing because of the speed with which it enabled her organization to comply with new HIPPA regulations and says charge-back helps keep IT costs down and prove its mettle.
  • “The bill of IT for each entity is valuable. They can see what they’re using. The visibility into what something actually costs is very helpful to them,” says Gash. The charge-back also shows which systems are driving IT costs, thus Gash can “validate that we’re spending money on what’s strategic to the organization.”

To receive more information regarding best practices for private cloud computing contact a representative today.


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