Private Cloud 23
Ready, Set, Deploy
Mel Beckman
August 28, 2013

Are you ready to deploy a private cloud? Assuming that you already have management buy-in, specific objectives, and adequate funding, you’re ready to get down to the business of building your cloud.

Initial Service Catalog

The first step is to identify the initial service catalog that you're going to present to end users. Caution: Don’t confuse what users think they need with what they do need. Bring users into the planning process. Identify and include the services that most user organizations have in common (e..g., web content management, email, CRM). The services that you’ll be delivering will guide your infrastructure choices.

For example, if email is on your initial menu, you might need to incorporate bulk long-term storage into your infrastructure, to accommodate retention requirements. A CRM system might have critical response-time requirements that dictate larger CPU and memory capacities in your host servers. Even the seemingly simple act of identifing how many customers you will have initially is important, so that you can correctly size your private cloud infrastructure and identify a scaling factor for future growth of your cloud.

Architecture and Solutions

With your initial service catalog in hand, you're ready to devise your private cloud architecture—your overall topology and resources—and to begin selecting products. Consider these types of questions to narrow the playing field:

  • Will you use vertical server scaling, employing large servers with a terabyte or more of storage and dozens of cores?
  • Will you use horizontal scaling, via smaller but more numerous blade servers?
  • Will your SAN arrays run on a dedicated network or use a shared Ethernet fabric?
  • Will your data network be contained within the cloud, or will it scale across your data center?
  • Do you need to migrate workloads between private and public cloud realms?

There are numerous solutions to choose from when you’re using Windows Server, especially if you also use HP hardware. Regardless of the hardware and software you use, figure out as much as you can about the specific approach you want to take and which solutions will best meet your needs.

Training

After you've decided on an architecture and selected products, you need training: thorough training, not just a few days studying manuals. Plan to practice in lab environments with real hardware and software, such as the Microsoft Serverquarium or training labs provided by your product vendors. With so many of your company's information processes depending on a single cloud of resources, you must be competent to man the controls from the moment your cloud takes off. This is not a learn-as-you-go environment. Study the management tools. Make sure you can confidently move workloads around. Then, if problems arise, you’ll be able to recognize them and respond quickly, before service is affected.

You’re just getting started. I’ll tell you about more deployment steps next week.