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10 keys for building private clouds

Brandon Butler | May 30, 2012
One of the toughest parts about implementing a cloud strategy isn't choosing the underlying technology to power the deployment; it's having the processes in place to manage an effective migration to the cloud, says Thomas Bittman, a cloud analyst for Gartner.

3. Evaluate alternatives. Bittman recommends researching the solution that will create true value-add for your business. In many cases, that may end up being at the platform-as-a-service level, he says, where applications are customized to the needs of the business while taking advantage of the benefits of a cloud environment. "You're not going to differentiate your company by using SaaS or even IaaS," Bittman says, because almost every company will eventually be using some of those services. "You differentiate by using new applications that are written specifically for your needs that are scale dynamically."

4. Create metrics. A successful cloud deployment is about optimizing a business practice so that it is being done more efficiently than before. How is that done? Metrics allow for quantitative evaluation of a strategy. While cost is a natural metric to measure, customer satisfaction and speed of delivery are other metrics that can be used. The most important metric, Bittman says, is the one that is most critical to the business unit.

5. Build a business case for using the cloud. It's critical for IT to determine where the business has the biggest bottlenecks that would benefit from the cloud. Once that's determined, start small and grow into a cloud deployment. Typically that means automating virtualization features to create a private cloud, or using a public cloud for development and testing.

6. Develop a people plan. A cloud deployment will in many cases change the roles of IT workers, Bittman says. Cloud architects and orchestration specialists are needed to build and manage a private cloud and service managers are needed to ensure the cloud is delivering what's needed. Meanwhile, traditional IT roles or maintaining legacy infrastructure will not be needed as much as new roles are created.

7. Have a management plan. Bittman says the future of IT is a hybrid world where a variety of services will be used: Private cloud will be combined with public clouds to create a hybrid cloud, while traditional infrastructure will continue to be used on-site for certain applications. IT should be the broker of those services to the business unit, delivering the service based on the business use case and the service offerings.

8. Have the right technology in place. While business processes are critical, technology cannot be ignored. Fundamentals of the technology plan include access management -- meaning who has access to what services -- and a service governor that will manage the resources that are delivered through the cloud. There are a variety of vendors that will help enterprises and SMBs manage their cloud deployment. These range from end-to-end providers such as HP, IBM, BMC and CA Technologies, to vendors that focus on the virtualization layer and provide application services on top of that.


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