Cloud computing can be realized through multiple implementation models. One of the implementations gaining a lot of interest is the private cloud. In this article, we at YourStory attempt to look at the key attributes of an ideal private cloud and take a futuristic view of the private cloud in an enterprise from the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) perspective.
Private or public, every cloud implementation has to respect four key tenets. They are:
Elasticity gives the illusion of infinity. Consumers of the cloud will be able to scale up, scale out or scale, down based on the demand for resources. Since this happens on the fly, applications can instantly scale to meet the demand.
Pay-By-Use turns the CAPEX into OPEX. Instead of investing in a server farm upfront, the cost can be distributed based on the usage of resources. This is a significant benefit offered by the cloud.
Self service drives the adoption of cloud by reducing the middle men. Since there is no human intervention required to perform standard operations, consumers will be in control of their infrastructure and needs.
Programmability enables the integration of cloud with existing business logic and organizational workflow. This makes the cloud truly democratic by opening up APIs that can be consumed in multiple ways.
Now, it’s noticeable that these tenets of the private cloud offer quite a few benefits to the IT departments. Given below are instances as to how it aligns with the typical operations that the IT department performs.
Seasonal/on-demand need for servers
This sounds very familiar to IT managers. How many times has the IT person walked out of a leadership meeting where he/she were asked to quickly setup an intranet site to support the new management initiative? Sometimes, this becomes a non-negotiable requirement from the management and there is no scope to explain what it takes to setup a new server. One cannot afford to wait till the vendor delivers a new server and to setup the right software stack on it. It is a long cycle to provision the server for the consumption of internal employees and groups. There is yet another classic scenario that IT managers will relate to. During certain seasonal events like performance review and internal evaluation, there is a need to reallocate resources to meet the demand. Provisioning and de-provisioning these servers is expensive, laborious and time consuming. This is where the elasticity attribute of the cloud helps.
One can simply have a set of templates of virtual server images that can be quickly provisioned. These templates will have the baseline software preinstalled in them. So, the turnaround time is very less. For seasonal demands, all that needs to be done is to increase the number of virtual servers powering the internal application and instant scalability becomes reality. Once the peak season passes, there is the option of scaling down by resetting the virtual server count.
Metering & billing for resource consumption
Servers and data centers are expensive resources. It costs money for the organization to setup and maintain them. It is important to prioritize the resource usage to get better RoI from the data center. The organization might want to provide more resources to a department that is delivering a mission critical project. To discourage the misuse of the resources, organizations can enable a charge back model for the infrastructure usage. That way, they can monitor, track and optimize the usage of the resources. The report that gets generated at the end of the fiscal year will provide an interesting insight into the total cost of ownership of the data center. The ‘Pay-By-Use’ attribute of private cloud brings to the table these capabilities.
Bring IT close to the employees
While most of the IT departments have a portal to request new servers and the provisioning, there is a lot of manual processes involved in completing these tasks. With a private cloud, authorized employees and managers will feel empowered because they are in control of their infrastructure requirements. Most of the manual process will be eliminated by scripting and automating the provisioning of virtual servers. With appropriate workflow and approvals in place, the self service attribute enables the organization to realize the promise of the dynamic data center.
Respect the organization policies and workflow
Every organization has a well-defined set of policies for procurement and provisioning of resources. When IT turns into a commodity, it should integrate with existing workflows. With the promise of dynamic data center, there is the need to automate the whole cycle of provisioning new resources. This involves programming the private cloud and treat it like any other business logic. For example, when an employee requests for a new server, his manager will approve it and send it for approval to the IT manager.
After all the approvals are given, the system should automatically provision the server and send a mail to all the stakeholders. Similarly, the IT manager might want to generate reports that help him understand the usage of the resources by cost center and a further breakup of number of virtual servers deployed per cost center. The programmability of the private cloud will enable all these scenarios.
We at YourStory believe that the future of every IT department is a private cloud. What do you think? Do share with us your thoughts on this story by writing to us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Courtesy: enterpriseirregulars.com