Five Things Enterprises Should Know Before Private Cloud Implementation
Why should an enterprise undertake building a private cloud infrastructure instead of accessing a public cloud? The benefits of private cloud implementation for IT departments are many — greater control, more self-service options for internal customers and reduced costs, to name a few.
However, before your enterprise embarks on a private cloud initiative, there are five critical parameters that can make or break a private cloud implementation. This article discusses these five things that are often overlooked, but when taken into consideration, enable enterprises to provide the experience internal customers have come to expect, as well as maximize the benefits of cloud computing for the organization.
- Easy to Install and Scale
Private cloud implementation should include easy installation and provide elastic scaling. The setup and installation process itself should include capabilities such as configuration, planning upgrades and migration, and methodology for capacity utilization for scaling. In our experience, an ideal setup has a single exe installation, with a step-by-step well-documented setup process.
With disparate components and differing configuration parameters, administrators will find that a single console makes it easier to install the system. The enterprise architecture itself should be simpler and more efficient, with cohesive modules that are tightly integrated, instead of diverse components that don’t communicate efficiently and require an army of expert teams to setup and configure.
A simpler installation, architecture and implementation also helps with scaling horizontally to add newer pods, regions and zones — critical for the system to keep pace with a growing organization, or for IT teams that are implementing and expanding in a phased manner.
- Easy to Administer
We have seen that the ability for administrators to easily manage and monitor a private cloud implementation plays a big role in the capabilities that they, in turn, can provide to end users. Administrators need a 360- degree view of the system to deliver on their SLAs. They should be able to proactively administer the setup – tracking and monitoring utilization, metering and charging back to the business units, analyzing and predicting future needs – instead of merely responding reactively.
Providing on-demand self-service access to business users, along with strong IT oversight, also plays a key role in improving private cloud implementation. Business users are dissuaded from turning to public clouds and worsening the organization’s shadow IT problem. According to a Forrester report, self-service access enabled for private cloud by IT jumped up from 39 percent in 2013 to 61 percent in 2015. Role-based access control provides administrators the required granularity of access to delegate the management of business process flow instances to end users. An underlying architecture and workflows with fewer components to configure and maintain also helps IT administrators understand and effectively deliver the services users want.
- Easy to Use for Business Users and DevOps Teams
Ultimately, the end user experience is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where most private cloud implementations succeed or fail.
To deploy and use resources efficiently, business users and DevOps teams must be able to create optimum environments to meet their unique needs – which in turn can fuel adoption throughout the ranks of the organization.
What elements make up a friendly end user experience? A single portal, navigation with fewer clicks, readily available help, and workflow wizards all help reduce complexity and simplify the myriad configurations users need. Users should be able to easily increase the elastic storage capacity in their environments and have the ability to provision larger storage and caching to cater to higher demand or improve performance as needed.
DevOps teams need the ability to seamlessly upload and deploy executable files and create dev, test, staging and production environments. Template-driven and automated provisioning of VMs can help drive consistency and discipline, which are critical in maintaining the system over long periods of time and through various organizational transitions.
Apart from tool capabilities and simplicity, it is equally important that the private cloud implementation process provides a way for users to easily raise support tickets that can be addressed and resolved quickly. This support process cannot be an afterthought, and the support teams should be identified and trained beforehand.
- API and Integrations
An enterprise cloud solution should be API-enabled to allow IT to extend existing capabilities with third-party solutions and extensions. Support for APIs also provides IT departments with options beyond core orchestration and provisioning, and use different business manager consoles that provide varying capabilities for feature-rich administration. Solutions added via APIs such as directory services, storage and content systems (SAN and CDN), and converged infrastructure solutions (FlexPod) can add great value. A flexible architecture with APIs can also enable extension to public cloud infrastructure and even ease the transition towards a hybrid cloud strategy, if that’s a goal.
- Feature-rich ITaaS
Enterprises should look beyond a plain vanilla Infrastructure as a Service setup and consider features and capabilities that will enable them to deliver true IT as a Service (ITaaS). A feature-rich cloud orchestration platform speeds up operations and significantly improves enterprise-wide adoption. Maintaining and supporting the implementation is also made easier by reducing the time to resolve issues.
With Platform as a Service (PaaS) capabilities such as integration and deployment of CI/CD tools, DBaaS, Analytics as a Service, DevOps tools, HadoopaaS, and IoTaaS, a private cloud can deliver the functionality of popular public clouds such as Amazon Web Services and Azure.
According to a recent report from 451 Research, these are the types of application and platform-level capabilities that are core enablers for IT organizations to truly deliver Hybrid IT and ITaaS. With these, business users also have fewer reasons to turn to public cloud providers or Shadow IT.
A feature-rich private cloud implementation that results in a platform platform that is easy to install and scale, simple to administer and use, and has the required extensibility through APIs will enable an IT department to provide enterprise users with the user experience they expect, and bring the vast benefits of cloud computing into their organization.