* What applications can I scale well to take advantage of the cloud?
* If I have two data centers, to what extent can I migrate applications and share capacity between them? Where does cloud help? Where does it hurt?
These questions are part of an iterative process; businesses need to work their way toward mature business processes for their private clouds.
Paul Cameron, head of enterprise services at Suncorp, a major financial services provider in Brisbane, Australia, says that when his company began planning and strategizing for its private cloud, two of the first things it did was create a service-based operating model and create a service catalog. The service catalog contains the list of services being automated for internal use and is available to business users via a self-service portal.
First a framework, then a configuration database
Key to this catalog was the implementation of an ITIL framework that resulted in storing information around Suncorp's assets and business application relationships in a CMDB (configuration management database). All of Suncorp's major IT processes -- incident, problem, asset and change -- leverage the CMDB.
Populating a service catalog can be time consuming. But if you are using IT service management and change management tools such as BMC Remedy or Service-now.com and have an existing CMDB in place, it can be easier. You can work through the appropriate services in the CMDB to provide the automated services listed in a service catalog. This is what Suncorp is doing with its BMC Remedy-based CMDB.
Cameron said that Suncorp is deploying a private cloud because it has to serve its customers better and take care of them more quickly. In traditional data centers, enterprises often take a week or even months to provision a server depending on how heavy IT staff workloads are and how long queues are for various tasks required by users.
What do you see as the advantages of private clouds over public clouds?
(Check all that apply.)
Better security/control since it's all done in-house: 85%
Self-service provisioning for most types of IT resources: 46%
Little or no learning curve for users since it involves pretty much the same apps they've been used to: 44%
Better/more efficient scaling: 32%
No advantages: 2%
Source: Computerworld online survey; 54 respondents
Now, at Suncorp, a user goes to the self-service portal and requests resources and services. Once the requests are made, the fulfillment of these services is automated. Suncorp has now virtualized most of its data centers around servers, storage and so on, resulting in about 80% of its data center services now being covered by automated self-service portal(s).