You know that your infrastructure has been fully virtualized when you have server virtualization, storage virtualization and network virtualization. The crossover point from a virtual infrastructure to private cloud comes when you have the management tools that treat all three types of resources -- servers, storage and networks -- as a single pool that can be allocated on demand.
Of course, all this is from a technology point of view. Iams says that there is a parallel set of steps from the organizational perspective, including people, processes, governance, policy and funding. One key question: What does a private cloud structure do to budgets and financial flow within an organization?
Public clouds require users to pay only for what they use. Because a private cloud doesn't provide users with a fixed amount of capacity like they may have had with a traditional data center, chargeback is almost certain to be an integral part of private cloud environments. Chargeback is a way of rationing computing resources, which is especially important when obtaining resources is as easy as filling out a Web form.
Paul Cameron, head of enterprise services at Suncorp Group, a major financial services provider in Brisbane, Australia, says that when his company began planning its private cloud, it created a service-based operating model and 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.
A key to building that catalog was storing information about Suncorp's assets and business application relationships in a configuration management database (CMDB). All of Suncorp's major IT processes -- incident, problem, asset and change -- use the CMDB.
Populating a service catalog can be time-consuming. But if you're using IT service management and change management tools such as BMC Software Inc.'s Remedy product line or Service-now.com and have a 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 says that Suncorp deployed a private cloud to provide better and faster IT provisioning to business users. Suncorp users can go to a self-service portal and request resources and services. Once the requests are made, the fulfillment of these services is automated. Cameron says that about 80% of Suncorp's data center services are now covered by automated self-service portals.