Laying the Right Foundation for the Cloud

Michael Vizard

A lot of IT organizations are moving in fits and starts toward building their own private clouds largely through ongoing efforts to virtualize their server environments. But as IT organizations continue down that path, many of them are discovering that they've put too much emphasis on the server aspects of cloud computing when it turns out that modern storage systems are going to be at the root of any successful cloud computing deployment.

According to Ion Gott, managing director for the Microsoft practice at DynTek, a provider of IT services, there are two primary approaches to building a private cloud. The first is to create a pilot project around an appliance platform that is designed from the ground up to address all the server, storage and networking issues that need to be balanced in a private cloud. To that end, DynTek is working with Microsoft to provide customers with up to $25,000 to create pilot private cloud projects based on Microsoft Server 2008 Release 2, Hyper-V virtual machine software and System Center 2012 management tools.

The other approach is to start by modernizing the storage systems first. Many of the private clouds that are being deployed today wind up trying to leverage existing storage technologies with predictable I/O bottleneck issues. In a webinar that can be found here, DynTek experts explain why scaled-out storage architectures that allow IT organizations to more dynamically manage storage are going to be critical to the evolution of cloud computing in the enterprise.

The simple fact of the matter is that most organizations do not necessarily want to fund a forklift upgrade to their entire IT environment at once. Scaled-out storage systems allow storage administrators to build what amounts to a cloud storage system that can be deployed in support of multiple server environments that are federated across a private cloud.

However, for IT organizations that plan to move to a private cloud, there is the one thing that is for certain: An internal IT house divided against itself can't stand. Ideally, Gott says elements of IT organization should try to move in concert with each other around an appliance model that ultimately leads to a redistribution of management functions sooner. But in the absence of the political or economic will to make that happen, it's just as acceptable to allow different groups in the IT organization to move forward at their own pace so long as they are all moving towards the same eventual cloud computing goal.

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Oct 5, 2011 9:10 AM Steve Caughey Steve Caughey  says:
Mike, in my opinion Enterpises trying to make a private cloud paltform choice at this point at taking a significant risk. We're really very early in the cloud platform game, and whilst enabling your data for the cloud looks like a sensible initial move, there's an earlier step that needs to be taken. The elephant in the room is that the IT department is going to have to *compete* with public cloud services. Enterprises need to grasp that reality and start putting in place the means by which that competition can be on a level playing field. Enterprises need to start treating the IT department as if they were an external supplier. This means focusing on measuring value and on introducing formal service agreements with IT. The pressure of competition will *force* IT departments to implement private clouds. Putting the spotlight on competition will make that happen sooner rather than later. Reply

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