“We want the benefits of public cloud—reduced CAPEX, predictable OPEX, new technology—but with more control and less risk.” This is a sentiment we’re hearing from customers with increasing frequency, and it’s why more organizations are exploring private cloud. Private cloud spend will grow from just 5 percent of IT’s budget today to 25 percent by 2018, IDC predicts. And in our own study of data center professionals, private cloud was named as the fastest area of increasing spend over the next three years.

So, how can you make your private cloud vision more attainable—activating it for less cost and with less complexity? It comes down to the backbone of the data center; you’ve got to address storage. 

Why go private?

Firstly, the private cloud offers a greater degree of control than the public cloud, especially with data. When you build a private cloud, you’re able to keep your data at your fingertips, establish performance levels that your organization demands to best serve end-users and customers and set security policies that align with your customer responsibilities or industry regulations.

Secondly, private cloud gives you more control of applications. Most public clouds require apps to fit their cloud mould, but a lot of businesses have unique, custom-made applications and recoding these applications to fit the public cloud is not a good solution. On the other hand, private cloud can support a flexible mix of applications regardless of when they were coded and what programming language was used. 

Planning the right storage environment for private cloud

When it comes to putting the right storage environment in place to support a private cloud, organizations need to consider:

1)     Performance: Where will your data and applications experience performance bottlenecks? Most organizations find it starts with storage. Many businesses have looked at flash as a solution, but flash alone is not the answer. The key is to provide every VM and application with its own “lane” to guarantee performance levels.

2)     Value: As you build and deploy more applications, you need more space. That can drive both CAPEX (more devices) and OPEX (more management burden.) Organizations should be exploring storage solutions that can simply scale without the purchase of unnecessary components (e.g. bundled compute) or third-party software.

3)     Manageability: Often an organization’s existing investment in virtualization can make life easier for the transition to a private cloud platform. However, in any virtualized environment it’s vital for the storage to be easily managed. Organizations should pursue one line of questioning with potential providers—how easy is it to manage individual virtual machines and applications?

4)     Effective storage: The best storage to underpin a private cloud is invisible and leaves administrators to focus on doing what is best for the company—not losing hours a day manually tuning and shuffling to restore performance.

Cloud without the headaches

Public cloud structures promised to deliver shared resource functions, utility computing and user flexibility. With the right technology, private clouds deliver on all the promises of the public cloud but with more security, control and flexibility. When deploying a private cloud, organizations that plan ahead should only invest in storage that scales intelligently, easily and cost-effectively to support applications and VMs. Ultimately, it’s those applications and VMs that drive value for your business.

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