The bumpy road to private clouds

By Bill Claybrook, Computerworld |  On-demand Software, private cloud

* Scale. Private clouds usually don't have the economies of scale that large public-cloud providers provide.

* On-the-fly reconfigurations. You may have to tear down servers and other infrastructure -- while it's still in use -- to move it into the private cloud. This could create huge problems.

* Legacy hardware. Leave your oldest servers behind. Don't try to repurpose any servers that require manual configuration with a private cloud, because it would be impossible to apply automation and orchestration management to these older machines.

* Technology obsolescence. The complexity and speed of technology change will be hard for any IT organization to handle, especially smaller ones. Once you make an investment in a private cloud, you need to protect that investment by staying 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. You may need to create some new operational processes and rework some old ones. Turn this stressful situation into a growth opportunity for your staff, reminding them that these are important new skills in today's business environment.

—Bill Claybrook

You'll need to acquire management tools that can bridge the physical infrastructure and the virtual infrastructure. So choose tools that let you see the same view across execution environments.

One layer of management is the infrastructure, which includes managing virtual machines, storage, backup/recovery and so on. While vendors often claim that their products are targeted at private cloud infrastructures, they sometimes use a very loose definition of "cloud," so carefully investigate the functions of each product.

The second layer, service-level management, involves managing workloads at a level of abstraction above virtual servers. This is where automation is applied. It is also where traditional management tools such as IBM's Tivoli and Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Insight work within the private-cloud stack. Vendors that claim to have automation management tools include IBM Tivoli, HP, CA, LineSider Technologies, DynamicOps, VMware and BMC.

Iams says that almost all system and hardware vendors are pursuing some type of virtualization or cloud management tools. Microsoft's System Center management product, for example, offers visibility into hypervisors and virtual servers.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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