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Private Cloud - The Future of IT?

I personally believe that the future of every IT department is a Private Cloud. Do you agree with my viewpoint?

Cloud Computing can be realized through multiple implementation models. One of the implementations that is gaining a lot of interest is the Private Cloud.  This article attempts to look at the key attributes of an ideal Private Cloud and takes a futuristic view of the Private Cloud in an enterprise from the IaaS perspective.

Private or Public, every Cloud implementation has to respect four key tenets. They are

1. Elasticity
2. Pay-By-Use
3. Self Service
4. Programmability

Elasticity gives the illusion of infinity. Consumers of the Cloud will be able to scale up, scale out or scale down based on the demand for resources. Since this happens on the fly, applications can instantly scale to meet the demand.

Pay-By-Use turns the CAPEX to OPEX. Instead of investing in a server farm upfront, the cost can be distributed based on the usage of resources. This is a significant benefit offered by the Cloud.

Self Service drives the adoption of Cloud by reducing the middle men. Since there is no human intervention required to perform standard operations, consumers will be in control of their infrastructure and needs.

Programmability enables the integration of Cloud with existing business logic and organizational workflow. This makes the Cloud truly democratic by opening up APIs that can be consumed in multiple ways.

These tenets of the Private Cloud offer quite a few benefits to the IT departments. Let’s see how these align with the typical operations that the IT department performs.

  • Seasonal / On-demand need for servers – This sounds very familiar to IT Managers. How many times did you walk out of a leadership meeting where you were asked to quickly setup an intranet site to support the new management initiative? Sometimes this becomes a non-negotiable ask from the management and there is no scope to explain what it takes to setup a new server. You cannot afford to wait till the vendor delivers a new server and to setup the right software stack on it. It is a long cycle before you provision your server for the consumption of internal employees and groups. There is yet another classic scenario that IT managers will relate to. During certain seasonal events like performance review and internal evaluation, you have to reallocate resources to meet the demand. Provisioning and de-provisioning these servers is expensive, laborious and time consuming. This is where the Elasticity attribute of the Cloud will help you. You can have a set of templates of virtual server images that can be quickly provisioned. These templates will have the baseline software preinstalled in them. So the turnaround time is very less.  For seasonal demands, just increase the number of virtual servers powering the internal application and you have instant scalability. Once you have passed the peak season, scale down by resetting your virtual server count.
  • Metering and Billing for resource consumption -  Servers and datacenters are expensive resources. It costs money for the organization to setup and maintain them. It is important to prioritize the resource usage to get better RoI from the datacenter. The organization might want to provide more resources to a department that is delivering a mission critical project. To discourage the misuse of the resources, organizations can enable a charge back model for the infrastructure usage. That way, they can monitor, track and optimize the usage of the resources. The report that gets generated at the end of the fiscal year will provide an interesting insight into the Total Cost of Ownership of your datacenter. The Pay-By-Use attribute of Private Cloud brings you these capabilities.
  • Bring IT close to the employees – While most of the IT departments have a portal to request new servers and the provisioning, there is a lot of manual processes involved in completing these tasks. With a Private Cloud, authorized employees and  managers will feel empowered because they are in control of their infrastructure requirements. Most of the manual process will be eliminated by scripting and automating the provisioning of virtual servers. With appropriate workflow and approvals in place, the Self Service attribute enables the organization to realize the promise of the dynamic datacenter.
  • Respect the organization policies and workflow - Every organization has well defined set of policies for procurement and provisioning of resources. When IT turns into a commodity, it should integrate with existing workflows. With the promise of dynamic datacenter, you want to automate the whole cycle of provisioning new resources. This involves programming the Private Cloud and treat it like any other business logic. For example, when an employee requests for a new server, his manager will approve it and send it for approval to the IT manager. After all the approvals are given, the system should automatically provision the server and send a mail to all the stakeholders. Similarly, the IT manager might want to generate reports that help him understand the usage of the resources by cost center and a further breakup of no. of virtual servers deployed per cost center. The Programmability of the Private Cloud will enable all these scenarios.

What issues did the Private Cloud solve?

  • Reduced turnaround time for provisioning (from few weeks to few hours)
  • Reduced dependencies on external vendors (due to better utilization of existing servers)
  • Predictable workloads based on the patterns established over a period of time
  • Highly optimized resources due to dynamic allocation of virtual servers
  • Dynamic assignment and on-the-fly reallocation of resources
  • Complete visibility into the usage of physical and virtual servers

I personally believe that the future of every IT department is a Private Cloud. Do you agree with my viewpoint?

More Stories By Janakiram MSV

Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He was the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. In his current role, he leads a highly talented engineering team that focuses on migrating and managing applications deployed on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
Janakiram is an industry analyst with deep understanding of Cloud services. Through his speaking, writing and analysis, he helps businesses take advantage of the emerging technologies. He leverages his experience of engaging with the industry in developing informative and practical research, analysis and authoritative content to inform, influence and guide decision makers. He analyzes market trends, new products / features, announcements, industry happenings and the impact of executive transitions.
Janakiram is one of the first few Microsoft Certified Professionals on Windows Azure in India. Demystifying The Cloud, an eBook authored by Janakiram is downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first few months. He is the Chief Editor of a popular portal on Cloud called www.CloudStory.in that covers the latest trends in Cloud Computing. Janakiram is an analyst with the GigaOM Pro analyst network where he analyzes the Cloud Services landscape. He is a guest faculty at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) where he teaches Big Data and Cloud Computing to students enrolled for the Masters course. As a passionate speaker, he has chaired the Cloud Computing track at premier events in India.
He has been the keynote speaker at many premier conferences, and his seminars are attended by thousands of architects, developers and IT professionals. His sessions are rated among the best in every conference he participates.
Janakiram has worked at the world-class product companies including Microsoft Corporation, Amazon Web Services and Alcatel-Lucent. Joining as the first employee of Amazon Web Services in India, he was the AWS Technology Evangelist. Prior to that, Janakiram spent 10 years at Microsoft Corporation where he was involved in selling, marketing and evangelizing the Microsoft Application Platform and Tools.

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