First of all, let us try and understand what a private cloud is. A common misperception appears to be that by simply adding virtualization and converting physical boxes to virtual machines will make it a cloud instance. Clearly, there is more to cloud computing than adding a few hypervisors to replace existing physical servers running on a rack.
Gartner’s official definition of cloud computing is that it is “a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to customers using Internet technologies.” Furthermore, it defines a private cloud as “a form of cloud computing where service access is limited or the customer has some control/ownership of the service implementation.” This is where you deploy cloud-based solutions within your own network and data center with access limited to or controlled by your IT resources. It is estimated that 45% of all cloud deployments are based on private cloud platforms.
There are numerous vendors, including Microsoft and VMWare, delivering multiple types of private cloud solutions including those that are based on an IaaS type of architecture as well as PaaS based architecture with IaaS being the more common and chosen architecture. It presents the following benefits:
Pooled Resources: In a private cloud, the key resources—compute, storage, and networking—are pooled and abstracted into units that enable you to dynamically provision and scale applications and resources. This will prevent underutilization of infrastructure distributed in siloes across the enterprise and better return on the hardware investment.
Elastic: Resources can quickly be expanded or contracted through automation or workflow, so IT services can be scaled up or down almost instantly to meet business requirements.
Self-Service: Your customers can request, configure, and manage IT services through interactive portals that allows for automated provisioning streamlining the application deployment and update process.
Usage Based: With resources as services, usage can be metered so that you and your customers pay for only the resources that are actually consumed.
While the above benefits are great, bottom line is that your business needs your applications to run in this environment with maximum uptime i.e. it’s really “All about the App”. When we refer to apps here we mean server applications typically running in your datacenter catering to various needs of your enterprise users, e.g., CRM systems, accounting software, corporate expense tracking system, etc. Some of these are obtained from 3rd parties while others may be developed within the company.
In both cases, best practices recommend the adoption of the application readiness process where application compatibility assessment is done on the targeted application, migrated to the required format, and published to the private cloud. These ensure smooth transition of the apps to the private cloud.