Failed private cloud deployments: three common lessons learned
Deploying private cloud can help bring multiple benefits to an organization – greater reliability, increased flexibility on a cost-effective basis, improved security and the ability to scale with the organization’s operations are all highly attractive incentives to deploying a private cloud. But you must get your deployment right to reap these benefits.
Cloud computing represents the next step in the virtual data center chain, and research suggests that private cloud will continue to grow in popularity. IDC predicts that the global private cloud IT market will be worth $22.2 billion in 2017, almost double its value in 2012. However, organizations can be guilty of rushing in too fast when deploying cloud, with some executives believing they must implement it yesterday. It’s important to remember that you are not just buying a boxed software product here.
Poorly-deployed private clouds carry with them three typical mistakes. I won’t say ‘classic’ mistakes as deployment intricacies and needs do vary, but in each failed private cloud deployment the following three factors are usually present.
1. The first lesson many companies learn from failed private cloud deployments is that they have approached it with the wrong philosophy. Private cloud isn’t ‘just’ an IT issue, it is a strategic issue, a business issue. Organizations must understand where they are in terms of digital transformation generally and think cohesively – this means business and IT need to think alike.
The mistake organizations often make is in not identifying the end-user need and ignoring the business need. A successful private cloud deployment means a mutually beneficial partnership between IT and the business units, where IT enables the business to perform better. IT can help business units get products and services to market faster, and to do this the private cloud deployment has to be on-demand, quick and responsive.
Before commencing the private cloud deployment, get the planning process right. Ensure that IT works together strategically with the business side of the organization to establish need and how to get there. Synch the two strands together and make time to market shorter – and into the bargain you turn your IT department into a revenue generator instead of just a cost center.
2. The second lesson to be learned from failed private cloud deployments is that many organizations forget to keep things simple and available as needed. No matter how tech-savvy your end-users, they still appreciate cloud computing being easy to access and begin using.
It’s a fundamental of any private cloud computing initiative – or indeed of any IT project or deployment – that the end-user you’re addressing wants the service on a plug-and-play level. If you’re utilizing an electrical device you take your plug and you plug it into the wall socked and you assume that the power is there – the same rule applies to private cloud deployments. It needs to be simple, your users want it to just ‘be there’ and you need to ensure that performance is guaranteed.
So the lesson really is keep it simple. If you overthink things and give users too many choices you risk making the service too complicated. And if your private cloud service is not user-friendly, people won’t use it. For example, if the marketing department needs a server for a new product launch, they should not have to go through complex the change request and approval process - that can take days. There should be an automated approval and change control process in place so that things are kept simple and can be executed as and when needed. If you need to open a firewall port for an application, the change should be done immediately as the business requires.
3. Thirdly, and while I realize that I’ve advised keeping it simple from the people and processes perspective in point two, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a private cloud deployment is too easy!
Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that they can just build their own private cloud infrastructure and roll it out – it’s that executives wanting it yesterday element again. Companies that have tried to do this often find that they end up two to three years down the line having spent a huge amount of money, gone through all kinds of amendments and changes to systems and processes – and they might end up with a private cloud something near to what they wanted. But at the same time it doesn’t have the agility and flexibility they were hoping for in the beginning. Unless you are a service provider or have an IT department big enough to act as a service department, trying to deploy private cloud yourself can be a big mistake.
So synch up your IT and business unit teams, plan thoroughly for what you want your private cloud to be and to deliver, think end-user functionality and ease of access and work with the right partners to deliver it. That way you maximize your chances of a successful private cloud deployment.
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