You Must Go Further To Get Private Cloud Right . . . But How Much Further?

 Lately it's starting to seem like private clouds are a lot like beauty – in the eye of the beholder. Or more accurately, in the eye of the builder. Sadly, unlike art and beauty, the value that comes from your private cloud isn’t as fluid, and the closer you get in your design to a public cloud, the greater the value. While it may be tempting to paint your VMware environment as a cloud or to automate a few tasks such as provisioning and then declare “cloud,”organizations that fall short of achieving true cloud value may find their investments miss the mark. But how do you get your private cloud right?

For the most part, enterprises understand that virtualization and automation are key components of a private cloud, but at what point does a virtualized environment become a private cloud? What can a private cloud offer that a virtualized environment can’t? How do you sell this idea internally? And how do you deliver a true private cloud in 2011?

In London, this March, I am facilitating a meeting of the Forrester Leadership Board Infrastructure & Operations Council, where we will tackle these very questions. If you are considering building a private cloud, there are changes you will need to make in your organization to get it right and our I&O council meeting will give you the opportunity to discuss this with other I&O leaders facing the same challenge.

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Don’t Think You Need to Know Your Organization’s Biz Requirements? Think Again.

This past month or so, I’ve been working with a number of Forrester clients who are either coming up on end of life storage hardware or are adding more capacity to their existing environment. In either case, the question always starts with “Who should we be using?” This situation comes up frequently, and I felt the need to point out some changes happening in organizations’ IT environments, and why this should be one of the last questions to ask.

  • Virtualization continues to move forward in most organizations. Although most environments are only 30% to 40% virtualized, there is an aggressive initiative to virtualize as much as possible. In Forrester surveys, virtualization was one of the top three initiatives for 2010, and I have no doubt it will be for 2011 as well. This means there is a great deal of responsibility (and budget) on the virtualization administrator to make this happen.
  • Teams are being assembled to think and design for a private cloud. This is no longer an abstract initiative but is actually happening, and rollouts may vary from one organization to another, but the reality is that business growth initiatives are forcing IT to evolve their overall environments to support these initiatives. And if they’re not, there’s a problem.
  • Businesses are moving at lightning speed. Today, the competitive landscape for any industry is aggressive. Organizations are looking to up their game, creating new growth initiatives, and leveraging technology platforms to do this. There are so many resources at their fingertips (public cloud services from AWS, etc.), that they can essentially bypass an IT department, and if savvy enough, use external resources for their needs. The bottom line is, if IT can’t do it fast enough, then IT becomes less relevant to the business. 
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