10 Common Private Cloud Computing Pitfalls to Avoid

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10 Common Private Cloud Computing Pitfalls to Avoid

by Chris Preimesberger

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Underestimating Compute Platform and Storage Growth

It's critical to plan for the different types of workloads you'll be running in your private cloud(s). We see today's workloads demanding more CPU cycles, increased RAM consumption and more storage needs. It's easy to underestimate infrastructure needs up front, and it can cause significant impact to end users.

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Ignoring Image Lifecycle Management

Image lifecycle management can be easy to forget or even ignore in the initial private cloud deployment. At go-live, you start with a pristine system, but after a few months, you'll start seeing drift. Within six months, you can have a serious sprawl issue—along with very unhappy end users—if you don't have a solid image lifecycle management plan in place from the start.

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Underestimating Your Constituents Definition of Production

Production means different things to different people, and it's important that you understand how your users view it early in your planning process. For example, while development is traditionally considered "pre-production," the environments used by developers are critical to their jobs. These environments are as "production" to those users as the external Website is to most companies and will often have greater availability and uptime requirements than you might expect.

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Neglecting the Initial End User Experience

Users will make or break the system. Implementing a private cloud is like any other major IT change management project, and the better the initial user experience is, the more successful it will be in the long run. Your users will quickly become champions or detractors, so it is crucial to the success of the private cloud project to plan your initial end-user experience adequately.

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Failing to Identify What Self-Service Means to Your Organization

Similar to "production," "self-service" is an overloaded term. As you define the nature of your private cloud, consider whether you'll be extending a fully automated self-service interface to the broad end-user base or whether you'll need to reign in some of the control. Work with your end users to determine the best mutual fit for your organization up front.

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Locking into a Single Vendor or Technology

Be careful of locking into a single vendor or technology for your private cloud management solution. It's an accepted practice to mitigate risk by procuring physical infrastructure from multiple vendors. The same policy is essential for the cloud software stack. While virtualization and cloud management technologies are beginning to mature, a lot will change in the next few years, and you'll need a cloud management solution that easily accommodates multiple virtualization and infrastructure technologies.

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Delaying Cloud Kickoff

One of the biggest pitfalls we see is delaying the kickoff of a cloud project. Clouds, and private clouds in particular, are going to be a major part of how IT delivers services to the enterprise moving forward, and the sooner you can deploy a cloud and start learning how it will work for your organization, the better. The organizations with the most success with private clouds to date started with a small, defined project and then scaled quickly as they learned and achieved initial ROI.

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Not Realizing that You Already Have Most of the Infrastructure Already

While a valid cloud deployment strategy is to purchase hardware and set up an entirely new environment, you likely already have most of the pieces you need in your data center; it just may be under-utilized. In fact, we find that in most data centers, non-virtualized infrastructure is running at about 8-10 percent utilization, and virtualized infrastructure is running at about 30-45 percent utilization. While virtualization provides a big improvement, simply adding a true cloud management platform can drive that utilization up to 75-90 percent, enabling you to do much more with the hardware you already have.

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Letting the Hype -Cloud' Up the Reality of What You Can Achieve

It's easy to get distracted by the hype surrounding the cloud. Challenge your solution providers to show how you can achieve real ROI and in what timeframe. Many private cloud providers are promising solutions in one to two years; some companies, such as Surgient, claim they are able to provide successful deployments in less than 30 days and material ROI in six months. It's possible to achieve significant capital and operating savings in Q1 2010 if you start now.

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Evaluating Private Cloud Technology Based on a Single Vendors Criteria

No single vendor can provide an all-inclusive solution for the private cloud; it's simply not possible today. Be sure to evaluate the definitions and methodologies of multiple sources before settling on a course of action. You need to define exactly what the private cloud means to your organization, and then look at a variety of established and new vendors to address your specific needs.

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