If you’re serious about making a successful move to hybrid cloud, now’s the time to make progress in each of these five areas.
- Validated architectures and best practices. This seems like an obvious area to start with, but it’s more critical than ever to the emerging models of IaaS and the enablement of private and/or hybrid cloud environments. You should start by assessing how your current virtual infrastructure and overall data center operations are doing in regards to architectures and best practices. Getting an outside perspective on where you stand in these areas can be valuable as well. Many companies we see tend to follow nonstandard, inconsistent processes for everything from setting up an operating system to tagging a VLAN. Starting with a validated foundation, that follows industry best practices, will make it easier to automate key processes you need later for a successful IaaS and hybrid cloud deployment.
- Accurate IT cost modeling. As a future cloud service broker, your IT team will need to accurately assess and evaluate the performance and cost of cloud services provided to your users. This includes costing information, such as the cost per VM and the cost per workload associated with certain infrastructure services or applications. This will help you get a better handle on the current cost involved in offering cloud services from within your IT data center. It will also help you compare external cloud providers and develop more specific SLA requirements. This is an area you should be refining now with your current virtual operations.
- Efficient virtual operations. This area relates to the last, cost-modeling area. Many organizations are naturally evolving from virtual infrastructures to IaaS and private cloud, with an eye toward hybrid cloud down the road. As you assess the costs of running your current operations, including costs per VM and costs per workload, you may identify obvious areas of improvement. There may be other areas of your virtual infrastructure that require an expert to analyze potential costs per workload and advise where to make certain workload-specific performance or cost improvements. Believe it or not, focusing on these types of efficiencies can mean the difference between an internally-supported virtual application that costs $100 to run vs. an inefficient application operating in a public cloud for the high cost of $5,000!
- Lifecycle management. One benefit of IaaS is the ability to do more with less. To achieve that benefit, however, also requires better management of existing physical and virtual resources. (How many of us have physical servers or virtual machines that we are just not sure who owns them?) This area includes retiring those resources that no longer provide any level of value. It also involves smarter resource acquisition. (If we purchased cars like IT organizations have routinely purchased hardware, we’d end up with 15 cars in the driveway!) Effective lifecycle management assesses application lifecycles. It can involve retiring less-critical applications after 5 years. It may also involve other discussions, such as the need to move older applications from more costly, 1st-tier storage to a more affordable, 3rd-tier storage.
- Cloud automation. IaaS and the cloud represent a brave new world for IT teams accustomed to working with other teams to manually fulfill project requests for new storage, new VMs, or new environments. We’ve been hearing about cloud automation and orchestration for a few years. We feel that today’s vendor tools associated with automation and orchestration have since reached a maturity level that makes them easier to implement and deploy with minimal scripting. Now’s the time for such tools—often developed by virtualization vendors—to be tried in early IaaS and private cloud pilots. These are “the glue” that will ultimately tie together the management and oversight of private and public cloud services under a single, hybrid cloud architecture. These will also be the central theme for IT’s hybrid cloud transition to the role of broker of cloud services.
Does mastering these five areas mean you’ll never face a snag in your move to hybrid cloud? Of course not. Adding hybrid cloud as an additional IT resource is a new way of doing things. It’s a new architecture, complete with new processes and new mindsets needed for all involved—from the CIO to application support, network administrators and end users. What mastering these areas will do, however, is accelerate your cloud learning curve and shorten the time it takes you to get there.
Learn more about public, private, and hybrid cloud in this short video that compares the three cloud models and offers insight about VMware's vRealize cloud management solution -- which is a great solution for managing hybrid cloud.