For companies that want the flexibility a cloud environment offers without exposing data and applications outside the corporate network, building a private cloud is a good alternative—if you're properly prepared for it. Unlike public cloud, which lets you hand over many of the responsibilities of managing infrastructure to the cloud vendor, private cloud means taking on the responsibilities of managing a cloud infrastructure for yourself.
If you think of cloud as simply using virtual machines, you won't be prepared and won't get the full benefits of an internal private cloud. A successful private cloud requires these features:
Certainly virtual machines are a key component of a hybrid cloud, but that's not the whole story. Cloud requires pools of all IT elements—compute, storage, and networking—to be shared by multiple end users. Both physical and virtual resources need to be able to be reallocated depending on demand.
The cloud needs to be able to respond rapidly to change. The cloud needs to be self-healing, automatically reassigning resources in response to failures and system load. Further responsiveness comes by automating the response to user requests, with self-service for end users. Allowing users to create virtual machines on demand requires having a process for requesting and deploying them, as well as creating and maintaining a set of predefined configurations and templates to meet their needs.
Orchestration goes beyond implementing single tasks to implementing entire workflows. Private clouds need orchestration to execute complex provisioning processes, ensure that policies are enforced, and maintain service levels.
One of the most valuable features of public cloud is that it's available from anywhere. Private cloud is intended to keep data within the corporate boundary, but making it accessible to end users wherever they are is still important. Network considerations including bandwidth and security need to be taken into account when evaluating how employees will be able to access their private cloud environments.
Using public cloud means you don't have to buy spare capacity in advance. When you run your own private cloud, that's not true. In order to ensure that virtual machines and applications can be brought up on demand, you need to maintain enough capacity to meet both current and anticipated load can be met. This can mean capital expenditures for up to five years' or more estimated requirements. It also means considering the longevity of your vendors to be certain you'll be able to continue to grow your environment with compatible devices.
You'll need a way to track and report usage of your private cloud in order to charge departments accordingly. In order to avoid unexpected charges, you'll likely want to provide departments with an administrative process that limits which users are able to bring new environments online.
One of the crucial benefits of public cloud is robustness. Private clouds need to be carefully designed to ensure key services offer high availability and prevent a single failure from disrupting the entire cloud.
Ensuring your private cloud delivers all these qualities requires thorough analysis and careful design. Work with a third party such as dcVAST that has experience with multiple vendors offering private cloud technology. Our professional services and managed services ensure your private cloud delivers cloud benefits from within your own data center. Contact us to learn more about implementing private cloud.