* Technology obsolescence. The complexity and speed of technology change will be hard for any IT organization to handle, especially the smaller ones. Once you make an investment in a private-cloud technology stack, you need to protect that investment and make sure you stay up to date with new releases of software components.
* Fear of change. Your IT team may not be familiar with private clouds, and there will be a learning curve. There may also be new operational processes and old processes that need to be reworked. Turn this into a growth opportunity for your people -- the stress of doing and learning all this may be mitigated by helping your folks keep in mind that these are important new skills in today's business environment.
Still, as Bittman's blog post points out, private clouds have their share of challenges, too; in his poll, management issues and figuring out operational processes were identified as the biggest headaches. And, of course, an on-premises private cloud need to be built internally by IT, so time frame and learning curve, as well as budget, need to be part of the equation.
Indeed, transitioning from a traditional data center -- even one with some servers virtualized -- to a private cloud architecture is no easy task, particularly given that the entire data center won't be cloud-enabled, at least not right away.
In this two-part article, we'll examine some of the issues. Part 1 looks at how cloud differs from virtualization and from a "traditional" data center. Part 2 will examine some of the management issues and look at a few shops actively building private clouds, and the lessons they've learned.
While we generally think of a private cloud as being inside a company's firewall, a private cloud can also be off-premises -- hosted by a third party, in other words -- and still remain under the control of the company's IT organization. But in this article we are talking only about on-premises private clouds.
Also, despite all the hype you might hear, no single vendor today provides all of the software required to build and manage a real private cloud -- that is, one with server virtualization, storage virtualization, network virtualization, and resource automation and orchestration. Look for vendors to increasingly create their own definitions of private cloud to fit their product sets.
Virtualization is only part of the picture
Many IT managers equate a private cloud with virtualization. What they describe is usually virtual infrastructure, meaning that "you can treat your servers, storage and networks as a single pool of resources that workloads can request on demand," explains Tony Iams, vice president and senior analyst at Ideas International, a research firm with emphasis on enterprise IT infrastructures.