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10 key considerations when building a private cloud

By Kiran Bondalapati, Co-founder and CTO, ZeroStack | Aug. 15, 2016
Private cloud can be a transformative, but it requires significant thought, dedication and perseverance

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

A private cloud enables enterprises to secure and control applications and data while providing the ability for development teams to deliver business value faster and in a frictionless manner. But while building a private cloud can transform IT, it can also be an expensive science experiment without careful planning and preparation.  Here are ten considerations that will help ensure success.

1. Involve the stakeholders.  Private clouds are not purely an IT project. The various business units that will be the actual users should be involved in figuring out the specifications and deliverables. A cloud changes the transactional relationship between IT and business. Both sides have to be engaged in figuring out and accepting how that relationship changes with a private cloud.

2. Consider the use cases.  It goes without saying that you need to carefully consider the use cases for the private cloud. If the consumers of the cloud are not ready to exploit the self-service nature and still need IT to hold their hands in the provisioning and consumption, they are not ready for it. A good pre-condition for building a private cloud is usually a project that is signed up to use it as it is being built. However, make sure the requirements are not overly specialized for a single project so it will scale to support the rest of the enterprise.

3. Metrics are key.  All of the stakeholders in the cloud project should agree on measurable metrics that will define the deliverables and the success of the project. It is often difficult to quantify the benefits of agility that companies achieve. However, establishing measurable objectives in terms of productivity gains or time -- even with the lack of dollars attached to them -- is useful when evaluating a private cloud project.

4. Avoid cloning a public cloud. Teams that set out to clone a public cloud (AWS, Azure, GCE, etc.) on premises will usually not succeed. The design, architecture and the implementation of the private cloud should be driven by the needs of the business units and their applications rather than the features available in public clouds. The public cloud is designed to serve a large number of clients and provides hundreds of services that might be useless for an enterprise. The goal should be to make sure that the necessities of the target projects are satisfied.

5. Focus on agility.  Think about how the cloud can give your teams agility, and maximize this benefit when designing the cloud. The transactions between IT and the business units should be simplified and empower the users of the cloud. This empowerment should have tangible benefits in terms of the speed at which business units operate their development and/or deployment of applications.


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