Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Private Cloud - why and how?

There is an explosion of change occurring in infrastructure and operations.   While it took almost a decade for virtualization to become main stream, cloud options are evolving much more rapidly.   There are two major business drivers – variable cost for consumers of IT resources and a need for increased IT agility.   All cloud options are built upon shared physical network, virtualized server and storage resources.   Cloud takes virtualization to the next level.   On top of virtualization it layers automated self-provisioning, chargeback for resource utilization, and service level agreements for cloud services that are in the service catalog.

The primary cloud discussions today center on when an enterprise will use public cloud and if it needs to implement private cloud as a stepping stone along the way or as a step-sibling for a longer period of time.   The growth of public cloud is large.   IDC estimates that the total expenditure on public cloud to be $29.5 billion by 2014.   There are some issues affecting the speed of public cloud adoption.   These are compliance concerns, data security, and cost.   As a competitive public utility, cloud cost will eventually go away as a concern.

In the meantime, Gartner believes that the most enterprises over the next couple of years will focus their attention on implementation of private cloud.   Today, there are three options for private cloud.   Enterprises can build their own private cloud (in their data centers or colocation sites), they can contract with a public cloud provider to create a physically separate private cloud for the enterprise (in cloud provider data centers or contracted colocation sites), or they can contract with a managed services provider to manage a private cloud in the enterprise data center.  

Whether an enterprise chooses to move to a public cloud or implement a private cloud, the approach to developing a strategy and implementation plan needs to follow the same methodology.   At a high level, the methodology has a four steps:
  • Define an end-state that satisfies business requirements including the financial goals, service goals and resourcing/role goals.
  • Identify the transition actions including development of services, financial changes, skill/role changes, ITIL process changes, and infrastructure changes.
  • Plan and communicate the individual transition work streams.
  • Communicate the overall program frequently and execute.
While the overall transformation creates business value and opportunity, each of the transition actions will create resistance.   Call me if you want to discuss this further.

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