For most enterprises, the move into cloud computing is already well under way. The reason is that the cloud offers some compelling benefits over traditional IT, including lower costs, greater flexibility, and enhanced ease of use.
But while most companies make use of the public cloud to a greater or lesser extent, some also have a need to keep their most sensitive or mission-critical information on their own premises, and under their direct control. In order to meet that requirement while still reaping the benefits of the cloud computing model, most of these organizations opt to implement a private cloud. According to the RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud Report, 72 percent of enterprises are now doing so.
Normally, on-premises private clouds are physically housed at a company’s own data center, or perhaps in the facilities of a cloud provider such as VMware. In either case, the important thing is that the organization’s data is kept safe behind a firewall, and not exposed to the public internet.
The Challenges of Running A Private Cloud
The decision to implement a private cloud raises some important issues that should be considered up front. Chief among them is the fundamental question of whether your cloud will be an entirely DIY (do-it-yourself), in-house effort, or if you will partner with a cloud services provider that can take much of the load off your internal support staff.
Supporting a private cloud on your own is not a trivial exercise. In fact, says James Maguire, managing editor at Datamation, “Running a private cloud in-house is notoriously difficult; it takes an entire host of skills and expertise, from network performance analysts to virtualization pros to IT security gurus.”
So, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether your in-house IT team has the technical chops to take full responsibility for the support of your cloud. If you decide to go the DIY route, your staff must be prepared to handle every task, including the initial architecting of the system, HW/SW acquisition and configuration, 24/7/365 monitoring, proactive detection and handling of potential problems, and upgrading hardware and software as failures take place or new technology becomes available.
On the other hand, if you decide to use the services of a cloud provider, you’ll need to carefully assess the level of support the vendor will provide. You should put in place up front a comprehensive support agreement that details the roles and responsibilities of the provider in supporting your cloud. And don’t forget to clearly delineate the level of support to be provided if you decide to move on from that provider. Obviously, vendors have little incentive to extend themselves to provide above-and-beyond support to a soon-to-be former customer.
Lifting the Burden Of Support
The easiest way to implement a private cloud is to work with a provider that can substantially lift the burden of support off the shoulders of your in-house IT team. A good example of such a vendor is Zadara Storage. With its On-Premises Private Cloud offering, based on its VPSA Storage Array technology, Zadara takes full responsibility for supporting the customer’s installation.
The company installs its VPSAs, which combine Zadara’s patented software with standard storage hardware, on site in the customer’s facilities. But the customer is not responsible for supporting the equipment. Instead, Zadara remotely operates, monitors (24/7/365), maintains, and upgrades both hardware and software as needed. Software updates take place in the background, without in any way disrupting production. And when hardware needs to be replaced, Zadara ships a new VPSA to the customer, whose only responsibility is to physically install it. Customers are never required to perform tasks such as configuring the units or migrating data to them.
Could a Private Cloud Be the Answer for Your Company?
One of the most important features of Zadara’s private cloud solution is that it does not involve any capital (CapEx) expenditures. Although Zadara installs and replenishes VPSAs in the customer’s facilities, there’s never a charge for the hardware itself, no matter how many appliances may be installed. Instead, customers are charged a monthly fee for only the amount of storage they actually use. And, of course, there’s never a separate charge for the support activities Zadara carries out.
If you’d like to explore how Zadara can help your company benefit from having a private cloud, please download our latest analyst paper: Zadara Storage Voted by IT Pros as On-Premise Enterprise Storage-as-a-Service Market Leader.