Is cloud storage really the way to go? If this question has reared its head in your mind, you are obviously concerned about security of computing in the cloud. If the data you generate is mission-critical, valuable and un-compromise-able (for instance your “intellectual capital” or taxpayer information lying with the revenue services agency), then you should seriously think about building a private cloud for your enterprise. But, what kind of private cloud do you want to build up?
Building an on-premise private cloud is not a mere infrastructure project. This is a CAPEX intensive and time consuming task. Data centre consolidation, rationalization of the operating systems, hardware and software platforms, and virtualization of the technology stack are some of the initial steps in this mega exercise. Application build-up, standardization, automation and commoditization of infrastructure and services are the foundations for efficiency and consistency. Size, storage volume, and bandwidth are the concern areas and sharing of resources is the operational pain area as interdepartmental sharing of resources may stir up HR storms and challenges.
Alternately, Signing up for private cloud services over the Internet is an OPEX option. Data centre consolidation or rationalization of the operating system is the headache of the service provider. The pain of standardization, automation and commoditization are handled by the professional, whose business is the efficient provisioning of such services. All you may be required to do is create an account, manage your users and upload your data backup for transaction processing, storage or disaster recovery.
But, you should not get carried away with the idea that signing up with a private cloud service provider will help you hit the ground running instantaneously. It is really not as simple as it seems. There is a gestation period, albeit shorter than that of the first option. You will still have a lot of homework to do! You will need to work your magic to get what you want. You will have to evaluate different kinds of workloads, do a risk-benefit analysis or work out the cost of moving each category of information to the cloud and consider the problems of integrating a fairly static standard service and provide an interface with a highly customized enterprise specific application for seamless integration. Additionally, you must make the effort to appreciate how the private cloud interface will help you comply with legal mandates.
Of course, in the end, it is all about business. You need to think in terms of elasticity, automation, self service, and chargeback. You cannot afford to get rigid about the finer distinctions when you are deploying your first private cloud infrastructure. You must find compelling value whichever private cloud infrastructure you select.