Dave Geada is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Quest, where he oversees the marketing strategy for Quest’s Cloud Automation Platform, a purpose-built IaaS private cloud solution used by Fortune 5000 companies to deliver IT as a Service.
Let’s face it, cloud computing is a messy business. From well-publicized outages to damaging security breaches to cloud computing sticker shock, for many in enterprise IT, the list of challenges reads like a recipe for disaster. Many of these IT organizations, lured by cloud computing’s promise of unparalleled agility, unmatched efficiency and greater control, are focusing their attention on deploying private clouds within their own data centers to hedge against these risks.
But the savviest among these recognize that even their private cloud deployments will yield challenges and failures, and as a matter of fact they are betting on it. These leaders view the value of their private cloud deployments on broader terms against the backdrop of their overall cloud computing strategy. For them, the trials and tribulations they encounter on the path to private cloud will help pave the way for much broader success across a variety of cloud computing environments. And it’s a strategy that you can effectively employ to increase your chances for success as well.
Henry Ford was once famously quoted as saying that “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” This precept is just as applicable to cloud computing. The trick is to quickly learn from your mistakes while containing the damage as much as possible. Deploying a private cloud gives you the opportunity to do just that under a unique set of circumstances that tends to maximize the value of the lessons that you learn while minimizing the impact of your failures. These circumstances can be loosely group into two types, namely visibility and control.
Private Cloud Brings Experience and Lessons
Deploying a private cloud in your own data center delivers a great deal of visibility into the root causes of cloud failures because you have direct access to all the components of your cloud infrastructure including hardware, software and networking components. And by integrating these components with a variety of monitoring solutions, you can quickly identify and mitigate any issues that crop up and, over time, design these out of your architecture.
Another benefit of extensive visibility is the ability to identify systemic failures brought about by a variety of components interacting in unexpected ways. Again, coupled with the right monitoring solutions, you can quickly and effectively mitigate these systemic failures and design them out over time. Under the heading of control, owning and integrating the various components of your private cloud stack and having a great degree of control over where those components get deployed in your data center helps mitigate the risk of failure by enabling you to isolate your private cloud deployment as much as practically possible. And in the unlikely case of a catastrophic failure that threatens other systems, you can quickly and confidently pull the plug before things get out of hand.
So what are some of the practical lessons that you can expect to learn and leverage by deploying a private cloud? Perhaps tops on that list is an appreciation for the resources required to deliver cloud computing solutions reliably and securely, and a handy list of questions that you should ask any cloud provider to ensure that they are doing the same for you to the standards of your enterprise. A close second is a greater understanding of your end users and insight into the patterns of cloud computing consumption within your enterprise.
Private clouds do a great job of providing you with this type of intelligence, which you can leverage to great effect as you expand into using public cloud offerings. Finally, private clouds can help you begin to quantifiably estimate the value you can reasonably expect to gain from deploying workloads on cloud computing infrastructure. This serves as an invaluable input as you flesh out your cloud enablement strategy to include a framework for mapping workloads to the best type of cloud computing solution based on factors like reliability, security and cost.
Failures Lead to Successes
Quixotic as it may seem, those that embrace cloud failure early, often and smartly, will be the big winners. Their failures will provide them with the tools that they’ll need to fully leverage the benefits of cloud computing reliably, securely, and to a degree that will forever alter the competitive landscape and propel these fortunate few to the pinnacle of success. Those that don’t will run the very real risk of being out-competed and becoming irrelevant to their markets. So what are you waiting for? Fail today. Your future may depend on it.
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