Q. How does the private cloud enable self-service solutions?
A. In today’s economy, self-service solutions are increasingly popular. Giving users the ability to solve certain issues on their own, without contacting the Help desk or IT support, makes sense for many companies. For example, users can recover passwords or build data reports. These capabilities can reduce the strain on your IT department, reduce user frustration, and save time and money across the organization.
The use of virtualization adds another layer of potential self-service actions, such as provisioning virtual machines (VMs). But in a typical virtual environment, provisioning a new VM requires a number of details:
- On which LUN on which SAN do you place the VM?
- Which VLAN should you use?
- Which IP address should you use
- Which host has sufficient capacity?
- Which template should you use?
For most end users, the answers to these questions are not readily available. Expecting users to provide these details is impractical and negates the benefits of self-service.
One key feature of the private cloud is the abstraction of the underlying fabric. With a private cloud, the administrator creates logical networks, such as Production and Backup, for each location. The administrator can use these networks to store the required IP schemes and VLAN configurations, as well as to classify storage, such as into Gold and Silver levels. The administrator then groups resources into clouds, and then grants users the appropriate quotas.
Now, end users need only know where they want to create a VM and which logical network and classification of storage they need within the quotas that they have been assigned. This controlled, user-friendly interaction for resources can then be enabled through a simple self-service interface, such as a website. For example, the HP Departmental Private Cloud reference architecture is designed to work with Microsoft System Center to facilitate self-service IT service roll-outs.