by December 16, 2013 0 comments

Today’s IT managers are faced with a sea of opinions when it comes to deciding what cloud solution is best for their organization. In the wake of the Edward Snowden case, in which a string of revelations were leaked regarding NSA surveillance, the confidence of many users of cloud services has been dramatically shaken – with companies across the globe raising their hands high with questions tied to the privacy of their data. While the real and perceived security risks are daunting, the backlash only underscores the importance of choosing the right cloud model for your organization – one that can be adapted to fit the needs of your workforce and provide the continuous access to information essential to supporting business decisions and fueling innovation. One way to do this is to take a closer look at the private cloud model, which allows you to leverage the benefits of the cloud without deploying workloads and data offsite and incurring security risk. The benefits of the cloud are undeniably big and game changing. But by deploying a private cloud that resides within your organization’s own firewall, you can reap these benefits yet still maintain the control and security your organization demands by putting the power back in the hands of your own IT department.

Getting There: Modernizing the Datacenter
Private cloud serves the same purpose and provides the same features and benefits of a public cloud, but gives IT full control over data and access, helps IT implement stronger security features and governance, and ensures that issues related to regulatory and corporate compliance are handled in an appropriate fashion. Getting there means fully modernizing your datacenter to achieve the efficiency, agility, and management simplicity required to reach those results in a highly cost-effective manner. By doing this, you can take advantage of cloud technologies to address market and competitive changes faster, become and stay more competitive, and better yet – grow your bottom line. At the heart of private cloud is the goal of transforming IT from a siloed, application focused model to a services focused one. This makes it possible to provide stakeholders a choice of both the services they need, and the service level that is appropriate given the business value of their project and other policy-based considerations. To support this services-driven model, the infrastructure must be modernized to provide the flexibility and agility to meet performance demands based on committed service levels. This involves a series of steps that includes consolidating platforms into a smaller, more efficient footprint, virtualizing those assets to make them more agile, automating the infrastructure for better performance and simplified management, and adding self- service so that users can quickly get the resources they need to be more productive in their jobs.

Considerations When Shopping for Private Cloud Solutions
While all this may sound overwhelming or costly, there is a bevy of choices available today to help an organization find a private cloud solution that is right for both its business and its bottom line. When shopping for private cloud solutions, be sure to keep in mind the core reasons why you are moving to cloud in the first place: virtualization, security, and openness. You can start by investigating these three key areas and asking the right questions along the way:

– Virtualization: A true, self-service private cloud should virtualize all storage – whether its block, file and object – into one resource pool that is abstracted from applications and is location-independent. This facilitates true data mobility, dynamic scale, and is the foundation for the private cloud. Be sure you investigate how the virtualized environment is managed, as it’s important that management encompasses not only the assets that make up the virtualized infrastructure and data layers, but also any frameworks that become part of the environment.
– Security: Because it introduces the opportunity for greater access to data and content by stakeholders, even private clouds require robust security and data protection. Look for solutions that deliver universal encryption for both data “in flight” and at rest , along with write protection to make data tamper proof. Equally important is unauthorized access protection through secure multitenancy and role-based access to data. All of these security mechanisms must also be enforced with governance capabilities for access control, compliance, data retention, and activity logging.
– Open Frameworks: Look for solutions that prevent vendor lock-in and enable you to incorporate a variety of infrastructure components, applications, and devices. This includes support for application, cloud, and open source frameworks, along with access methods and storage protocols that support a wide variety of interfaces. Additionally, comprehensive management software can help provide efficient management across multiple frameworks, to ensure full integration into your private cloud environment.

The companies that effectively modernize their datacenters and deploy the right private cloud infrastructure will inherit a strong foundation to turn data into business relevant information that can be used to make critical decisions and improve operations. And to think — all of this can be done within your own company firewall. By taking the time to truly understand the core elements of the private cloud and how those align with your specific business needs, you can more easily determine the best solution for your organization and deliver the privacy and security measures essential to operating in today’s data driven world.

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