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How to Build a Private Cloud

A private cloud services offers a number of benefits for your organization, such as the operational saving achieved through automation, scalability of the cloud, and achieving high level of security of your IT infrastructure. But how do you build a private cloud solution that is efficient for your business operation?

Everyone is eager and excited about moving to the cloud. It could be a fun thing you could be doing, but you still need people who know what they are doing, otherwise things can go wrong. So, to help you learn how to build a private cloud, we have compiled a list of useful tips from the experts.

Related article: Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid In the Cloud

How to Build a Private Cloud: Step by Step Method

1) Do not forget the 5-step rule: –

Once you are sure that a private cloud is the best thing you could do for your business, use a five step process – standardize, merge, virtualize, automate, and plan. In each of these phases, you will build better architecture than you did in the past.

So, when the projects get changed, or the budget gets cut, or the timeline gets pushed, you will still have a very usable method to more forward with, instead of just putting together a half-put-together system that is never going to grow to the next level.

b) Think big, but start small:

You do not have to move your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud at once.

Start moving something that is isolated and with very few dependencies. This way, you will gain immediate feedback – feedback from your IT staffs, finance, and end users –, which makes you ready to handle even more complex tasks later on.

As you accumulate experience, you move on to the bigger tasks.

3) Do not forget the details: –

There is more to a cloud than just placing a ‘basic’ infrastructure. You also have to monitor and manage your infrastructure using tools.

Cloud architecture is made of network, compute, hypervisor, and storage.

To manage these hardware and software, you will need a management tool that you could either buy or build yourself. It could be service catalog, a method for chargeback, or it could be some monitoring device integrated with other enterprise systems to keep track of performance, security, and availability.

4) Co-ordinate with the rest of the team

Besides the above technical issues, moving to cloud computing requires plenty of coordination and cooperation with others in the company.

The IT infrastructure teams gets all excited and build private clouds, however, they never co-ordinate with other people who are controlling the organization and its tasks such as corporate risks, corporate applications, and corporate security.

Getting the organizational team aligned is as equally important as getting the technical engineering right. Consider placing a group of IT staffs in a private cloud, and if there is no coordination between the groups, you will find that the security and risk teams will not allow them to deploy any mission that is important to run in the cloud. This will delay reaping all the benefits of using a private cloud for years until it is proven than the cloud is both robust and secure enough.

Make sure to work out what systems you will put on the cloud in advance so that you have a road map for migration into a private cloud.

5) Simplify, simplify, simplify: –

Before moving everything to the cloud, you will want to standardize as much of the environments as possible, including the applications, operating systems, hypervisors, and hardware.

On the other hand, automating, organizing, and managing multiple hypervisors is very difficult thing to do, and as a result, the operational cost sharply increases. However, the more you simplify things the better results you will achieve down the road.

As the cloud industry is continuously evolving, this could be a small issues for you now. For example, Microsoft supports multiple hypervisors – Vmware, vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-v, Citrix XenServer – which can significantly reduce the need to customize scripts to achieve automation and orchestration

6) Build the apps:

In addition to the infrastructure and team members, the application also has to be reengineered to take full potential of the cloud. The applications have to change to make it run effectively and safely on private clouds. That means running apps and testing them when you build a private cloud, and redesigning and refactoring some during the process.

The changes may not necessarily be the major ones though. However, if they are not done properly, it can result in data loss or not available for use.

Although most applications are able to be plugged in to a cloud environment, sometimes it is even easier to create a new application for the cloud rather than spending chunks of time and money for redesigning.

7) Getting started:

Building a private cloud is an extremely personal task. There is no one specific way of creating a private cloud that is customized exactly to your needs. With that said, many vendors offer tools to help you get started on designing and deploying a private cloud.

These tools assess your status and then generate a plan of route for building a private infrastructure. For example, HP offers a Cloud Readiness Scorecard while VMware and Microsoft Private Cloud has a Cloud Readiness Self-Assessment. Taking one of these assessments will help point the ‘right’ direction for building a successful private cloud.

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