Cloud for enterprises – make it private

Diagram showing three main types of cloud comp...

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Cloud Computing has been making waves around the world but the question that is on everyone’s mind – does it make sense for Enterprises? If so, how does it help other than the fact that your Opex and Capex numbers get reversed?

All enterprises, whether they are banks or retail chains or supply-chain experts, have a question that comes to their mind instantly – how secure is my data on the cloud? I will not go into the details of the security aspect here but what I would like to suggest in my post is to go for Private clouds. Why? Let me try to explain further.

Private cloud can be thought of, as the next step to move from the current data center setup’s that are existing in enterprises.

Typically, there is an Infrastructure team that takes care of all the hardware resource needs within an enterprise. But, if you ask any project team within the enterprise, they will try to tell you the horror stories they go through, whenever they need an additional piece of server for their new project.

There are various instances required – development, testing, staging, performance-test, production – in any usual project for an enterprise. If it involves a product, there will be clusters deployed – redundancies built in to support the up-time required for critical applications. Add to it, the Disaster Recovery environments that need to be in place as well. All this adds up to a ‘lot’ of resource requirements and I am not even talking about the software required so far. Software required will involve any product (or bespoke development) that is implemented, schedulers that might be required to run batch jobs, databases, underlying operating systems and many more small packages.

Now, when one starts a project, imagine what would go on your mind if you are a Project Manager!  Would you be able to go to your internal support team and say that right now, I am not sure about the hardware requirements I have now but I need to plan out my requirements as I move forward – the answer coming back will be a definite no. What is your next best option? Come up with a guesstimate of the requirement and then hope your actual needs are close to what you might eventually need. What happens if the software product is not tuned to perform optimally – the performance might be less and the recommendation from your software team will be to increase the hardware you have deployed. You are in caught in a very delicate situation now. Isn’t this situation familiar with you?

If one notices the amount of hardware deployed and the ones that are actually being used, there will be a big gap – there will be pockets of servers stashed away somewhere that might not be used at all – who knows about it? Very unlikely if the teams are aware of it. Attrition or relocation from the project teams would mean that the knowledge remains in the dark. So, if the above situation occurs, the Infrastructure team would end up raising a Procurement request for additional hardware.

This is exactly why I feel a private cloud will make sense. Private would mean that there is no data going out of the enterprise and would also mean a logical change of responsibilities of the internal Infrastructure team. A one-time hardware consolidation exercise will result in the teams knowing the current status and the gaps that might exist. Going forward, once all the constituents of cloud computing (Scalability, Availability, Charge-back mechanisms) are in place, the process will become less chaotic.

Do you agree with this? If not, what is your suggestion for enterprises?

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One Response to “Cloud for enterprises – make it private”

  1. prateekkhare Says:

    Great Post. Cloud it is !

    You’ve amazingly summed up bottlenecks with having server setup in-house in big organizations and otherwise. Also the ‘people’ problem (people are not resources – people are people) with dependencies is getting exposed as pain in the butt as Cloud computing takes toll.

    Leave apart the scalability, financial viability and on-the-fly ease of use of cloud computing – In today’s paradigm- the world of startups and opportunities, techies seek for end to end control on their work from coding to deployment on beta/staging/uat/production – they completely own their part and thats what really matters to them : being able to initiate, code, deploy and sell their own product/project/application.

    But then this does not really work in big companies where there is so much hierarchy – not out of compulsion, but out of need – there is chaos due to work load, even after proper tagging of releases, proper code review, proper sub-versioning -there are server screwups and hence – the need for disaster recovery even on cloud.

    Although the roll-back(disaster recovery) is as simple as abc – on the could. So it directly implies that one should make mistakes to learn more about the cloud and that anyone can manage servers , Rest In Peace Sys Admin : (please also read the comments)

    I would like to understand from you, as to how would you mould the system in order to give control to the one who developed the code – in big companies. Many thanks for your insight and time.

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