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January 11, 2016updated 31 Jul 2019 6:56am

How to build a private cloud: 5 best practices to move on premise

List: Orchestration tools, SLA's and converged infrastructure - there's a lot to remember about building a private cloud.

By James Nunns

A private cloud remains a popular choice for companies that are looking to embrace the cloud, but have security concerns or regulatory demands that they must meet.

A private cloud can be built from the ground up to meet your needs, so both performance requirements can be met, but also Service Level Agreement and data protection compliance demands can be as well.

Control over whom can access your data and where it is located are two additional benefits that mean you can more safely avoid breaching rules like the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation.

So if you decide that a private cloud is the way to go, CBR has some pointers of how to get started.


1. Plan ahead

This is an important element as it may save you time, effort and money in the long run if you know what your goals are.

You need to understand what you are getting in to, for example; private clouds aren’t completely based in virtualisation. Yes, virtualisation plays an important role, but a private cloud can also just be shared infrastructure.

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A shared service can be created to replace many different services, with virtualisation only forming part of that service’s implementation.

The point is, is that there are different ways to go in private cloud and you should have conversations with your chosen vendor or consultancy firm as to what is best suited to your requirements and the needs of your staff.


2. Understand the services that your organisation relies upon

This falls partly under the plan ahead section but it is something that really deserves its own point. It’s no use in building a private cloud if your staff find that the systems and software that they have been using no longer function.

A good idea would be to document what the services are that people have been using so that when the new cloud service is being built, these can be deployed.

Included in the documentation should be information regarding performance, so take a look at the data your company has on historical performance data. This will not only help you plan ahead for the future requirements but it will also keep your staff happy; they won’t experience a fall in quality due to anyone underestimating requirements.

An important element to remember is that of Service Level Agreements, don’t forget the requirements that need to be fulfilled and maintained.


3. Hardware, software and a converged infrastructure

Standardising should be one of the first steps you take, so look at elements like what the total cost of ownership will be. You need to make sure that everything is going to play nicely and the costs of managing multiple systems could be a burden you don’t want to be faced with.

Despite pointing out that there are other paths to a private cloud other than through virtualisation, it is the most common model.

Your servers need to be virtualised along with an underlying software defined networking and storage fabric; basically you need a fully converged infrastructure.


4. Automation

This should be one of the key goals you have when deciding to go down the path of a private cloud.

Once the hardware and software has been decided upon, you can then go down the path of automating, so you can make assumptions regarding the locations of files and authentication mechanisms. This then leads to scripting the installation of application software and middleware.

The goal of this is to save time as once this process is automated it frees up staff, a successful outcome of achieving this will be IT productivity gains.

Furthering the automation process will see self-service processes being automated alongside workflows. The IT department is again then freed up to be getting on with something more important and they only have to take care of approval processes.

One of the real benefits is that a platform delivers consistent and repeatable performance, making it easier for developers and admin to use.


5. Orchestration

This is related to the automation element but should be the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to setting up your private cloud.

It follows on from the automation element in regards to self-service functionality that you want to achieve from architecture you’ve deployed.

An orchestration product, or more likely a suite of software, will help you on your way but it is important to go through an assessment period with this just like you did with the hardware and software standardisation element.

The last thing you want is to struggle to operate the orchestration software when you’re hoping it will make your life easier.

It’s important to use a staged approach and to remember that there is plenty of help out there, whether that comes from a third party, consultancy firm, system integrator or from the vendor itself.

Considering the fact that you’ve probably chosen a private cloud for its increased security and control, you don’t want to rush through the process and realise that you’ve missed any important elements.



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