Orchestration is the coordinated delivery of many types of resources, such as processors, storage and networks, to provide an integrated provisioning process. It means that resources can be delivered in minutes rather than days or weeks. A single command or request causes a number of actions to occur, possibly in a specific sequence, to coordinate the provisioning request.
The whole point of a private cloud is to allow IT managers to reduce costs and provide so-called agile provisioning rather than just making management of the infrastructure more convenient. A private cloud with virtualization underpinnings turns the technology infrastructure into a pool of resources that can be provisioned on demand with minimal manual labor.
Are You Ready? Probably Not
Forrester Research estimates that only 5% of corporate IT shops are really ready to offer private cloud service. A recent Forrester report by analyst James Staten says that your IT operation is "cloud-ready" if:
* You have standardized procedures for the deployment, configuration and management of virtual machines.
* You have turned over the deployment and management of virtual machines to automated tools.
* You provide self-service access for end users.
* Your business units are ready to share the same infrastructure.
Before moving toward private clouds, IT shops must become even more efficient at server virtualization. Most IT departments lack consistent procedures for tracking the deployment, usage and ownership of virtual machines; that leads to "virtual machine sprawl," which will cancel out the economic savings of a private cloud, Forrester says.
IT shops also need to learn to manage the entire pool of virtualized servers rather than single virtual machines or workloads, the report adds.
Once your virtualization house is in order, Forrester suggests the following steps to get started with a private cloud:
* Begin with noncritical workloads to show that it works.
* If a business unit is willing to invest in cloud computing, set up a brand-new cloud environment just for them.
* Get executive support -- actually, a mandate -- so that business units will share the pool of virtual resources.
* Show the benefits, such as dramatically faster deployment and lower costs.
* Embrace public clouds that can supplement your internal cloud.