Private Cloud Characteristics and Staffing

Author by Nathan Lasnoski

What is a private cloud and how is it different from what you're already doing?   I've described Private Clouds as the movement of IT departments toward delivering services in an "on-demand", "consumption oriented", and "pooled resource" model.  It is really about asking IT departments to focus on being service providers for self-service applications in a manner consistent with how individuals consume external applications.    The private cloud idea is becoming more popular, with Microsoft launching a new Private Cloud Site here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/   The ideas of becoming "service oriented" have been around for a while, but are becoming more popular.  I wrote on service oriented virtualization and governance here, which might be helpful:  http://www.concurrency.com/blog/virtualization-and-it-governance/   I found this article to be very interesting and had a good description of the private cloud and changes in staffing: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud/hh407018   The article included a breakout from NIST on the qualities of the private cloud, which included:  
  • On-demand self service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Metered services
  Here is the NIST whitepaper:  http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts/800-145/Draft-SP-800-145_cloud-definition.pdf   The new staffing roles focus on the idea that architecting, operating, and supporting a private cloud is different than a typical infrastructure.  The skills and techniques are more commoditized and customer delivery centric.  I found the roles of "private cloud infrastructure architect and private cloud service manager" particularly interesting.   How do I implement the "Private Cloud"?   From the perspective of products and tools, Microsoft has developed the Private Cloud Fast Track Architecture which includes pre-built configurations for virtualization which also includes the self service capabilities through tools like SCVMM.  You can also use the same collection of tools to build your own.   http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/private-cloud/hyperv-cloud-fast-track.aspx http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/private-cloud/default.aspx   I really believe that the private cloud is much more than simply tools, but more about approaching IT from a customer first, service oriented, and shared resource perspective.  Some pragmatic steps you can take to initiate this change are:    
  • Understand your resource model.   The private cloud is based on shared resources and metering for the purposes of understanding service costs and capacity planning.  Use tools that allow you to track these resources and categorize them.  Check out System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012's resource model, which aligns with this.  http://www.concurrency.com/blog/vmm-2012-beta-private-cloud-management/
 
  • Commoditize and automate.  The private cloud infrastructure should make services normalized and commoditized as much as possible.  Instead of doing everything manually, organize automated deployment stacks to push out applications and normalize your provisioning process.
  Happy virtualizing!   Nathan Lasnoski
Author

Nathan Lasnoski

Chief Technology Officer