If an agency makes the decision to launch a private cloud, what steps must it take to pull off the plan? Cloud veterans and consultants cite five key moves:
1. Consolidate and Streamline the Data Center
By restricting the variety of hardware platforms and running highly compatible hardware, IT managers can more easily achieve the dynamic provisioning and resource pooling goals of cloud computing. The IT department can further its streamlining efforts by moving to blade servers, deploying storage area networks (SANs) and boosting network bandwidth by migrating to 10-Gigabit Ethernet network links.
2. Virtualize Wherever Possible
The immediate return will be a reduction in physical hardware requirements, higher device utilization rates and savings on power costs. Over time, virtualization will provide additional benefits, such as the flexibility to dynamically provision and reprovision workloads, storage volumes, memory capacities and other resources to quickly address business or mission needs.
3. Implement Technologies That Automatically Orchestrate Workloads
This includes specialized tools that balance the workload among all the individual servers in the private cloud while ensuring that each application has the power it needs to meet existing demands.
4. Determine Which Applications Are Right for Running in a Private Cloud
Although hard-and-fast rules don’t exist, one common practice is to use private clouds for common business services, such as e-mail systems, which do not require the full power of dedicated servers and related resources. More complex applications or those that are upgraded frequently may run best on their own dedicated resources.
5. Implement Service Metering
A key characteristic of clouds, both public and private, is self-service provisioning of resources and service metering. Catalogs show users what IT resources are available from the cloud, display their associated costs, and then give users a way to quickly procure the right resources in the right volume for their needs. Metering shows the ongoing costs of these services based on usage, which gives individuals, the IT department and the financial department a clear understanding of IT expenses.
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