How to Sculpt a Private Cloud

System management and monitoring – As systems become more automated and dynamic, system monitoring becomes more critical and potentially more challenging. A mature system management infrastructure is the key to smooth operation and to troubleshooting. Additionally, proper monitoring tools can provide objective measurements of performance in a dynamic environment.

Service orchestration – Service orchestration is the ability to centrally control the tasks required to deploy, document, and retire systems in a cloud environment. Orchestration may require several automated steps and interaction with multiple systems (i.e., SAN storage, OS deployment, VM creation, network configuration, etc.) as well as updating the configuration management database (CMDB), notifying appropriate people and/or getting the appropriate approvals to complete tasks in compliance with defined business rules. Orchestration is critical to reduce deployment time, and drive higher levels of consistency and efficiencies into a cloud environment.

Configuration management – Configuration management ensures that servers and other components in the IT environment comply with all corporate and industry governance rules: HIPPA, PCI DSS, corporate antivirus and security standards, etc. Configuration management tools can also provide mappings showing which servers and applications interact with each other, and what the dependencies are between the servers and applications.

Chargeback/Showback – Chargeback/showback assigns cost to the consumption of IT resources. These costs can include, but are not limited to, hardware, floor space, power and cooling, licensing, and IT personnel. Whether you actually charge users for services or just let them know the cost, chargeback/showback capabilities ensure that users don’t take “self provisioning” to mean “instant gratification.”

Performance and capacity planning – Most businesses view cloud-based systems as having nearly infinite capacity. That is, as new projects that require IT resources are realized, the cloud infrastructure can provide the required resources immediately — without having to wait for traditional procurement delays. This transparent elasticity is made possible by implementing appropriate performance and capacity planning tools. These tools are used to predict growth patterns and to run simulated growth scenarios to proactively determine when capital investments are needed in the infrastructure.

Service catalog – A service catalog is a list of services that an organization provides, often to its employees or customers. Each service within the catalog typically includes a description of the service, SLAs associated with the service, who is entitled to the service, and costs associated with the service.

Change management and the CMDB – Configuration management is an ITIL process that tracks all of the individual configuration items (CI) in an IT system. A CMDB helps an organization understand the relationships between the significant components of the IT environment and track their configuration. The CMDB is a fundamental component of the ITIL framework’s configuration management process.

Adoption of SaaS – Software as a service (SaaS), also referred to as hosted applications, is a software delivery method that allows organizations to access business functionality on a monthly fee. SaaS removes the need for organizations to handle the installation, setup and often daily upkeep and maintenance. The appeal of SaaS has resulted in business units subscribing to SaaS applications outside the purview of IT. Extending governance to include renegade SaaS needs to be adddressed in your strategy.