To this day, a private cloud is still one of the most popular cloud delivery methods out there. Organizations looking to bring rich content to the ever-mobile end user are updating their infrastructure, creating a more scalable data center and trying to keep up with the market.
We have a very different kind of user today. The modern user is:
- Highly mobile
- Wants to receive apps and data on a variety of devices
- Wants to be productive from anywhere
- Wants their connection to be seamless, secure, and powerful
- Wants to experience the best possible user experience… all the time
Now, it’s hard to meet all of these demands at once. But there are ways. There are private cloud technologies that allow organizations of all sizes to create their own private cloud environment. Now, let’s take a look at the critical steps for creating and controlling your own private cloud environment.
- Understand your end-user. Probably one of the most important first steps is to understand what kinds of devices your users are deploying, how they are accessing their apps, and what will make them most productive. This means administrators must maintain constant visibility into the end-user environment. Monitoring and controls should be established around the following:
- Log-on times
- The type of device being used
- Location of the connection (external/internal and secured/unsecured)
It's also important -- when it comes to the end user -- to never become complacent. Much of the current evolution around cloud and content delivery is primarily because of how modern end users process data. Are your users mainly on tablets or laptops? Are they in environments with poor network connections? All of these questions dictate how you deploy your private cloud environment and whether you’ll need more to enhance the end user's experience.
- Create data center efficiencies. This is both physical and logical. Look for technologies that directly help your data center become more agile and efficient. Maybe you need to deploy a new virtual application environment on a hyper-converged infrastructure for optimal performance. Or, maybe you need a virtual WANOP appliance at a branch location to help with connectivity and latency. Little enhancements can go a long way for your users and data center.
- Start with your hypervisor. Really, this is the gateway to your private cloud. This is where you control your resources, create policies, incorporate automation, and optimize your virtual machines. New technologies now allow you to directly integrate with hypervisor platforms to make VM control even easier. The better you can control you hypervisor and the resources assigned to it, the better you can control your private cloud.
- Publish applications and data. This can be a bit tricky and sometimes takes the longest. Applications now come in ALL shapes and sizes. SaaS, HTML5, legacy, and cross-operating system applications can all make the publishing process interesting. There are tools out there that allow you to analyze applications and make very intelligent deployment decisions. You can check on dependencies, cross-app interoperability, and OS support. The more you know about the app the better. Plus, the great part about delivery is that you can aggregate all apps (public, private, SaaS, and HTML5) under one user portal. For the administrator, they can manage all apps and data points from one location. For the user, all apps are available in one spot.
- Never forget about security. The cloud, and the private cloud, have all evolved substantially. New security solutions bring options from enterprise to SME levels. You can deploy virtual security appliances, load-balancers, and access gateways. The point is that you can now look at both physical and virtual options to enhance the overall security of your private cloud.
- Monitor and evolve. Cloud computing continues to evolve at a scorching pace. We’re seeing new technologies impact the way we compute on an almost daily basis. That said, just because you have a private cloud does not mean you might not one day move into a hybrid cloud platform. New hypervisor extensions, powerful APIs, and cloud integration methodologies allow you to quickly integrate with public cloud resources. Never get complacent with your cloud and always be ready to evolve.
At the highest level, that’s pretty much what you’ll need for a solid private cloud architecture. The most important part to understand is the need to create a very agile environment. You never know when you’ll be expanding your private cloud into a hybrid cloud.