Under My Thumb: Managing Your Private Cloud

Self-provisioning – compelling and scary

Many of what are considered the attributes of cloud technology are both compelling and scary. Self-service provisioning, for example, is compelling because it enables IT and designated users to spin up capacity as needed. It is the cloud feature most directly linked to providing the Holy Grail of business agility.

Self-service provisioning is scary for the same reason. The runaway proliferation of virtual machines that virtualization unleashed in many data centers is a good example of what can happen when IT has easy access to resources. The thought of users getting easy access to resources sends shivers through many in IT.

To ensure that self service does not get translated as “instant gratification” by your users, you need to have things like chargeback and showback so you can demonstrate that you are spending money by serving yourself these corporate assets. Without some way to allocate cost, self-service provisioning is like the Wild West all over again. The good news is, there are tools available today that will do just about everything from orchestrating workflow rules involving complex interactions to calculating the total cost per month of spinning up a single server.


Knowing which tools you need and being able to tell them what you want them to do, however, requires a set of skills and a knowledge of business processes that can leave the IT professional feeling like a computer science major who suddenly got beamed into the MBA program. This is where the cloud hype about aligning business and technology gets real.

Unfortunately, developing and managing a private cloud environment is typically an IT initiative. To realize its potential, a private cloud needs to be more business and process driven than most IT departments can implement on their own. IT is obviously critical to building a cloud but, if it’s an IT-only project, your private cloud is not going to be as good as it could be. The true value of developing a private cloud environment, in fact, may well be that it requires the kind of open, ongoing communication between IT and business units that your organization will need to succeed in the future.

Next up in this six part-series is “Beast of Burden:” Cloud-Enabling Your Applications, which discusses what you need to know to migrate, update and develop new applications that take advantage of your private cloud environment.

Previous articles in this series include:

  • Mixed Emotions: A Cloud of Your Own
  • How to Sculpt a Private Cloud
  • Get Off My Cloud: Ensuring Security for your Private Cloud

Steve Pelletier is a solution architect for Logicalis, an international provider of integrated information and communications technology solutions and services. He is responsible for designing both public and private cloud strategies for Logicalis’ clients. Mr. Pelletier was the initial architect for the Logicalis Enterprise Cloud Platform. He was also one of the earliest VMware certified professionals and holds more than 30 technical certifications, including an IBM Dynamic Infrastructure certification in virtualization/consolidation, business resilience, and energy efficiency.