Migrate to a Private Cloud, Not a Virtual Datacenter - Page 2

 By Brian Proffitt
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Differentiating virtual datacenters from private clouds

It's better, therefore, to avoid the problem in the first place, and avoid the scenario of recreating the datacenter altogether. This means planning for and implementing the rest of the toolset that differentiates a virtual datacenter from a private cloud.

First and foremost, automation must be in place. Everything in the cloud architecture must be as automated as possible: hardware configuration, network settings, VM provisioning, jobs management… if it's involved with the cloud, ideally it should be manageable through single-console access.

"Automated delivery needs to incorporate both the configuration of the IT resources as well as any pre or post configuration steps that need to be completed to either make the IT compute resource usable for the requester or complete the "paperwork" required to monitor and track the resource throughout its life," writes Richard Bourdeau, VP Product Marketing, DynamicOps. "Some think that it is a lot to ask to address the entire process and only seek to automate part of the process. So, many private cloud management solutions only address part of the process and focus only on the configuring of the machine vs. the end-to-end process."

But while partial automation is better than nothing, it still will not be as efficient as an full-on automated solution.

"[The b]est way to avoid this trap is map out your process, soup to nuts," Bourdeau adds, "Note where compromises cannot be made on automation and understand how the new zero-touch approach will affect your processes on a whole. The right vendor will address your needs and bring additional suggestions and functionality to the table."

Besides lowering IT management overhead, automation will also enable your architecture to achieve the fourth and final private cloud requirement: letting customers self-provision machines based on their needs. That's where the real notion of the cloud comes into play: Not only are machines easily provisioned thanks to automated tools, but users can manage much of the provisioning process themselves, taking even less of IT's time.

There's a lot to think about when approaching the true private cloud, far more than picking up some cloud automation solutions, slapping them onto your infrastructure, and then let your users have at it. Put in that context, it's easier to imagine what must be considered: policies.

To reap the benefits of a true cloud architecture, you must make sure that all policies--from IT to the user--are clearly and succinctly planned out. Without policies in place, any cloud deployment will become a chaotic mess.

It is well worth the effort to expend the energy on planning, so you can attain maximum efficiency with your private cloud.

Brian Proffitt is a technology expert who writes for a number of publications. Formerly the Community Manager for Linux.com and the Linux Foundation, he is the author of 19 consumer technology books, including the most recent Take Your iPad to Work. Follow him on Twitter at @TheTechScribe.

This article was originally published on Jan 19, 2011
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