For many customers, leveraging a public cloud server or a set of public cloud servers is adequate to meet their needs. They appreciate the flexibility the cloud provides and can use it to achieve their goals. But some clients have very large needs, and in those cases a private cloud might make more sense. Many large organizations such as Apollo Education Group (the company that owns University of Phoenix) rejected the public cloud because at the scale they needed for their environment, private cloud was a better fit. They built a VMWare-based cloud instead, which includes 1000s of virtual machines, and they are a great example of an organization that planned ahead to build the right cloud environment for their needs. If you are considering a private cloud, here are some key steps to prepare for to ensure that your move to the cloud is a successful one.
The first thing to do when preparing to move to a private cloud is to take inventory of existing IT infrastructure, and from there to consolidate servers. This allows for organizations to phase out older equipment that isn’t as efficient, as well as equipment that might simply not be used. These unused servers – sometimes called ghost servers – just draw power in the company data center without providing any benefit to the company.
Another thing to take advantage of while consolidating equipment is to consider virtualization. Especially when looking at newer server infrastructure, there are a lot of features in servers that allow for more effective use of hardware. A good example of this is hyper-threading – this allows CPU cores to effectively be split in two, so a server with 8 physical cores can function with 16 virtual cores, further diversifying the loads that can be deployed on an individual server. In order to manage a virtual environment, some type of hypervisor should be in place. Common hypervisors include VMWare ESX, Citrix XenServer, and Microsoft Hyper-V – different admins have different preferences, but at the end of the day they will all work to virtualize an IT environment admirably.
Automation is important as well – especially when deploying a large private cloud. By streamlining the process for virtual machines to be created and automating basic tasks such as system updates and application installation, IT can save a lot of time that is better used supporting end users and handling bigger issues that might come up. Automation can be enabled by using tools such as Chef or Puppet to automatically deploy applications when virtual machines are created. There are also tools in the hypervisors that can be used, though these typically require a subscription of some sort.
Finally, giving users a way to self-service their environment is another great way to save IT time. In most cases, departments will be given a budget of IT resources – not unlike a traditional budget involving money – and rather than have IT get involved every time someone in, say, Marketing, has a new tool to test, its best to give Marketing the tools to manage their own processes. This allows them to see the benefits of the cloud environment in their own work day, as well as preventing a silo from cropping up over the Cloud as IT’s toy instead of a tool for the whole company.
Vault Networks can help you to build a private cloud in a multitude of ways. We can assist you by providing dedicated servers that can be leased from us, giving a large quantity of servers on a month-to-month basis that can be expanded as needed, or we can help you to move your own hardware into our colocation space. Regardless of how you plan to build your private cloud, we are here to help get your project off the ground. To learn more about our solutions, reach out to us by calling (305) 735-8098 option 2 or by emailing email@example.com.