Building a Private Cloud Step by Step
If you are thinking about putting together a private cloud, there are generally five steps that you can take. These steps are: standardization, consolidation, virtualization, automation and orchestration. This multi-stage approach will help you and increase your chances of creating a private cloud successfully and allow you to spot weaknesses or strengths in your cloud system as you attempt to create your ideal private cloud set up.
This is basically the foundation when it comes to putting together a private cloud, and will set you up for success in each step hereafter. During this phase, the decisions will be made on which software and hardware components will be used for deploying the private cloud.
You will want your environment to be as simple as possible, the more complex your systems are, the more it will cost. This will become even more apparent during the automation and orchestration phases when the customized integration of many complex pieces can be very time consuming and expensive. A common way to do this is to build the infrastructure in a pod design. This type of design is "cookie cutter" and is very predictable to price.
Once you have the systems together that you will be using to create your private cloud, the next step you will move on to is the consolidation phase. This is not new technology as servers and storage have been consolidated for years. This is essentially trimming down the equipment to exactly what you will need, and what will be able to be scaled up in the future. If your system needs multiple storage protocols, then try to find a single device that does this instead of multiple.
Virtualization depends on your intended delivery model and design of your private cloud. Typically most models do require virtualization, but not every one. For instance, a pure PaaS model (which is not typically used for a private cloud) does not need server virtualization as the platform can handle allocating the underlying resources. Additional flexibility can be added to network resources by using network virtualization techniques like SDN.
Don't ignore standardization here, keep TCO in mind and don't be drawn in by oversimplified capex arguments.
Once you have reached this step, you have selected the right systems for you, now is where you can modify the IT processes to your liking. The concept behind this is quite simple, make tasks that are done manually over and over again into automated tasks. This is one of the key things that will free up the time of your IT staff so they can focus on things like service deployment. The toolset that you choose for automation is also important because it will have to work well with the decisions that you made in the standardization and consolidation stages. Not all software and hardware products work perfectly together.
This is where keeping your standardization as simple as possible really comes into play. The more standardized the system is, the less custom integration points there are, and in some cases there are no custom integration points at all.
This is the final stage of the process, and gives the "self-service" ability to the private cloud architecture. There are two main components that you will want from the orchestration phase, a self-service portal and a service catalog. The product that is chosen should also include some chargeback/trackback functionality.
Orchestration systems are typically more like a software suite than just one product. A lot of times these products are a result of components that the vendor has acquired over time, or different departments are working together as an orchestration system. This will increase the integration within the orchestration system itself, be sure to check the integration of the system before purchasing anything.
Building a Private Cloud: Step by Step
Putting together a private cloud is not easy, but once it is set up properly it will simplify the IT of any business. The following is a list of sequential steps that can be followed to set up a private cloud:
- Assess the infrastructure that exists (if any) in order to understand the workload characteristic, hosting environment, and application data.
- The physical infrastructure will also need to be assessed to make sure that it is sufficient for a private cloud solution. If it is not, then it will need to be refreshed and upgraded as necessary along with the data center transformation.
- A virtualization layer will need to be built, it can be based on, Hyper-V, Xen, or VMware.
- Asset management is then enabled to update and track all the converged infrastructures through a discovery tool.
- Tools for virtualization management are built over the infrastructure layer.
- The Virtualization management tools and asset management are integrated.
- The orchestration layer and automation piece are integrated over the virtualization layer.
- More management layer tools are enabled, like CMDB, SRM, and ITSM.
- The ITFM and service catalogs are created.
- The orchestrator workflows are created and configured. The building of workflows and their storage within the orchestration library (remediation, auto ticketing, provisioning, de-provisioning) also happens at this point.
- The discovery tool and CMDB are integrated, and asset management is carried out to record and perform configuration and asset management.
- The self-service portal for catalog management and user access is created.
- Images and a template are imported from another environment or created originally.
- Charge-back and billing tools are created and integrated with CMDB.
- Once the integration, configuration, and set up are complete, Hyper-V and VMware hosts to centralized cloud management are migrated or added.
- UAT/integration/functional testing is then carried out on the solution.
- Custom reports as desired for usage, capacity, billing, and charge-back information are created.
- The enabled cloud management solution is integrated with the production environment.
- The company transitions to Automatic Storage Management (ASM) for managing its day-to-day tasks.
So, do you think you could build your own private cloud? What features of the private cloud would be most important to you? Clinked would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below! Or, if you would like to speak to one of our private cloud specialists, book a demo below:
Bakhyt is a seasoned business growth professional, international marketing consultant and entrepreneur. She is currently Head of Growth at Clinked and a founder of EngineeringClicks.com. Throughout her career she’s been an owner of multiple digital businesses in e-publishing, e-commerce, brand licensing and affiliate marketing. Bakhyt’s main interests lie in business growth, data, performance analytics and SEO.