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Considerations of designing private cloud solutions

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A private cloud solution is a cloud computing platform that is implemented within the corporate firewall, under the control of the IT department. A private cloud is designed to offer the same features and benefits of public cloud offerings, but removes a number of challenges of public cloud solutions including control over enterprise and customer data and other challenges around security. However, it introduces a number of challenges that would normally be addressed by a cloud provider. In this article we look at the considerations for implementing a private cloud solution.

Private clouds should offer the same features that a public cloud offers. This includes service automation management, usage metering, resource management and security. In addition to these key services that a public cloud offers, a private cloud solution also adds the complexity of managing scalability, standardization and quality of service.

When it comes to scalability, private cloud computing services usually don’t have the economies of scale that large public cloud providers provide. This can cause budget issues that can make private cloud solutions appear expensive. In addition, private cloud solutions have similar challenges around integrations with legacy systems, other private cloud solutions and public cloud solutions. This definitely must be investigated where an applications extends across many compute environments.

Standardization of key services is also critical in a private cloud solution. Private cloud solutions need a great deal of standardization and if this work has not been done previously as part of the IT department’s best practices, private cloud will only make this lack of maturity more apparent.

Finally, service management and quality of service management is critical to the success of a private cloud computing offering. This again can be challenging to an IT organization if these best practices are not already implemented.

In addition to the technology challenges of implementing a private cloud solution, there is also soft cost to implement a private cloud solution that might not exist with public cloud. This includes training of existing IT staff on the new products and processes that support private cloud solutions. In addition, it includes a cultural change within an organization if internal customers are not used to chargeback or other ITIL best practices that become more critical when implementing private cloud solutions.

Summary
Designing private cloud solutions to meet a particular business need can solve some of the security challenges that might exist with public cloud solutions; however, may introduce new challenges depending on the current maturity of the IT organization implementing the private cloud solution. These challenges include return on investment discussions, training, and service management considerations. Depending on a given business requirement, close evaluation and analysis is required to ensure a private cloud solution is the best fit for a given requirement.

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