This article originally appeared in Cloud Computing Magazine Q4 2012
Imagine that you want to remodel your home, adding onto your family room to accommodate larger gatherings. Would it be more cost-effective to tear down your entire house, or just make changes to the one room? Obviously it’s best to just change what you need to, but some organizations today think that to take advantage of new technology trends, they essentially have to tear down the house. One area in which this is evident is implementing a private cloud.
Cloud computing is one of the major IT trends of today, providing scalable, flexible IT resources that can reduce costs and improve efficiency within the organization. But because many businesses are still wary of the security of third-party providers, they are choosing to adopt a private cloud to support business-critical applications and store sensitive data. Other organizations are still hesitant to deploy a private cloud because they feel it represents a major infrastructure investment. But not everything needs to be replaced. Storage in particular is a large part of IT budgets, but leveraging existing storage more effectively in a private cloud can significantly reduce costs. It represents an important opportunity for improvement, however, as the majority of physical storage is underutilized.
The following tips can help you more effectively utilize your existing infrastructure to deploy a private cloud.
Utilize storage on demand
The operation efficiencies of cloud computing come from maintaining a central pool of resources that allocate needed assets to systems and users. But when they are no longer needed, the resources are returned to the central pool so they can be used elsewhere as needed. This is far better than simply buying more and more storage, as organizations have traditionally done. It also saves the time used for establishing storage needs up front for new services.
Take advantage of SLAs
Beyond on-demand storage is the need for correct provisioning. Because different applications are prioritized differently, some need more expensive solid-state storage, while slower options will suffice for others. Ensure that SLAs can provide for the provisioning you need for different business needs.
Implement tiered storage
In today’s high-efficiency data center, it’s important to avoid paying for more than you need. Some data should be available more quickly via top-tier storage, while other elements of the network are a lower priority. Storing less critical information in a lower tier can save a significant amount of money. A critical part of this process is classifying your organization’s information, to separate it into the appropriate tiers.
Pay attention to consumption
Because cloud computing involves centralized resources, visibility into how they are being used is important to make the most of it. As you consider cloud solutions, make sure they will integrate well with your current infrastructure and provide visibility into your storage consumption, allowing you to reclaim unused space. Look at your consumption over time to establish a baseline for your needs.
Cloud computing requires the ability to track the usage of resources for chargeback to different entities within the company, requiring a knowledge of ownership and the ability to manage consumption. Given the ever-increasing amount of data we are using today, this is becoming more of a challenge. Take advantage of the latest management tools that can provide chargeback capabilities to streamline private cloud performance.
Control storage sprawl
The sheer amount of information produced today can be overwhelming, making efficiency a top priority. One element of controlling this information sprawl is to reduce usage costs through methods such as compression, auto tiering and archiving. In addition, maintain needed access to important information through backup and deduplication technologies in case of data loss.
As your organization considers moving to a private cloud, the transition can be made more smoothly and more cost-effectively by utilizing current storage capabilities as much as possible. Current resources can be combined into a pool of assets which, combined with storage management tools, will prevent the need for a “rip and replace” mentality and give your business the flexibility of the cloud in a secure environment without having to tear down the house.
Edited by Brooke Neuman