Private Cloud Integration
October 16, 2013

In a recent interview with Windows IT Pro editor Sean Deuby, industry expert Mel Beckman highlighted several critical issues for businesses that are poised to embrace cloud solutions.

Q: Which kind of a time frame should a business expect when it comes to moving to the private cloud?

A: One of the most important things for business decision-makers to realize as they embrace private cloud solutions is that the private cloud will not instantaneously replace existing infrastructure. Firms should expect to live with legacy infrastructure for a minimum of two to three years, until the technology has run through its life cycle.

All too often, managers and other business leaders develop unrealistic expectations for cloud services, assuming that adopting these solutions will immediately solve all of the business's problems. It is important for IT professionals to temper managers' expectations, or else the move to the cloud may be seen as a frustration, or even a failure. You have to let them [business managers] know that it's a path and an evolution. It's not an overnight success story.

Q: How can organizations ensure interoperability between existing IT infrastructure and new private cloud solutions?

A: Measuring and monitoring are critical in this regard. Organizations need to first measure their current capacities, then monitor the impact of private cloud services once they have been integrated with existing infrastructure. In many cases, a new private or public cloud solution will feature a different switch topology or switch infrastructure protocol. The only way to ensure that this new resource operates effectively with the existing technology is by using network management and performance analysis tools.

Q: How can businesses determine which existing applications to move to the private cloud?

A: Although it is possible to set up a private cloud and only deploy new apps in this environment, the vast majority of businesses will have at least a few existing applications that would benefit from being moved to the private cloud. To identify these apps, IT professionals need to engage directly with the company's end-users and find out what their pain points are. Only by doing so can the firm determine the optimal way to utilize its new cloud services.

Q: Which other steps should businesses take before initiating new cloud efforts?

A: The cloud can simplify many business operations through automation, but these benefits can only prove valuable if used effectively. Firms need to invest in training for users prior to putting cloud solutions into effect. Just like you wouldn't buy an airplane and then take off without a pilot's license, you've got to get your flight credentials for the private cloud.

This training does not have to be burdensome. Twenty to thirty hours of intensive education on a private cloud simulator should be sufficient to prepare relevant personnel. And once these employees have this knowledge, they will be able to take full advantage of the cloud's automation and other components to maximize productivity and efficiency for the organization as a whole.