IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

How to avoid private cloud pitfalls

Thu 23 Jul 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

There seems to be a good deal of private cloud bashing going on these days. The bashers have grounds for their critique. 

According to the Gartner May 2015 report by analyst Thomas Bittman entitled “Internal Private cloud is Not for Most Mainstream Enterprises” between 2011 and 2014 the total number of VMs has tripled. 

However, the percentage of VMs living in on-premises private cloud IaaS didn’t budge from its 3% position while public cloud IaaS VMs rocketed from 3% in 2011 to 20% in 2014. 

In my opinion, just the title of the report is quite an indictment of the notion of on-premises private clouds. So, is the best way to avoid private cloud pitfalls to treat private cloud itself as the pitfall to avoid? 

One could be forgiven for wondering what to do with the 77% of VMs that still live on-premises, alongside billions of dollars of bare metal servers, networking devices, and storage equipment. Are they doomed? Not exactly. 

On one hand, the report states that the “focus of many internal private cloud efforts has shifted away from cloud and toward virtualisation automation for legacy apps - and products focused on improved virtualisation automation have been more successful”, which is encouraging. 

On the other hand, the report forecasts that “by 2020, less than 5% of enterprise workloads will be running in true on-premises private clouds.” What does this all really mean?

First of all, I think it’s important to tease some important concepts apart. In the report, Bittman distinguishes “true on-premises private clouds” from “virtualisation automation for legacy apps.” 

True private clouds are competitive with and have the characteristics observable in major public cloud IaaS offerings, but are built on-premises for security or compliance reasons. 

By contrast, Bittman notes that “Larger deployments tend to be less "cloud" and much more "virtualisation automation," with little use of self-service and standard offerings, lots of customisation, and some manual effort.” 

Cloud management platform vendors may have a thing or two to say about the precise boundaries of what constitutes a “cloud” vs “virtualisation automation”. 

Nonetheless, I feel the meta narrative from Bittman’s point of view is fairly clear: If you’re not building something that is competitive with AWS, then you’re not building a private cloud, you’re building virtualisation automation. 

Pride of terminology aside, “virtualisation automation” is not cast as a bad thing. As mentioned above, the report mentions that this type of “private cloud” is actually seeing broader success in enterprise IT teams. 

Whatever you want to call your infrastructure modernisation initiative, there’s no doubt that IT needs to move faster across the board. If you’re dealing with applications and infrastructure that aren’t ready to move to the public cloud, then how do you move forward? 

Here are a few guideposts that can increase your chance of success:

1. Start with a “Single Solution Cloud” focusing first on a single team, use case and solution allows you to put all your efforts to satisfying a clearly identifiable client organisation. 

Anything “as a service” requires careful scoping. In fact, Bittman writes the following in his report entitled “When Building a Private Cloud, Start Small, Think Big” published November 2013, and updated in October 2014:

“Private cloud projects will usually fail if they are scoped too large, move too fast or are developed without an evolving, comprehensive road map for services and processes.”

Even if you have big plans, restrict the scope to ensure that you don’t try to generalise so much to everyone’s requirements that you don’t meet anyone’s in specific.

2. Understand the difference between supporting developers and testers and production application deploys. It’s very common to start private cloud initiatives by choosing devtest use cases. However, the way that infrastructure is allocated differs between the two use cases:

  • Application deployment infrastructure use patterns are kind of like one-way trips. Infrastructure resources are allocated to application components, then deployed until decommissioned, which could be years.
  • Devtest use patterns are like round-trips. Users need to be able to get access to infrastructure environments (anything from a single VM to a hybrid physical/virtual environment with networking switches, etc.) for a relatively short period. The period can be hours to weeks. Once they’re done, the resources need to come back into the shared pool and be baselined, so they’re ready to be deployed by the next user.

Having a clear handle on this is a good starting point to ensure that you don’t miss the requirements of your starter team and use case. Keep double-clicking on the requirements, particularly if the use case is new to you. Often, IT and developers haven’t spent a lot of time in communication, so if you’re trying to serve developers and testers, you’ll need to do your homework thoroughly.

3. Plan to offer a complete infrastructure solution. If the team you’re trying to service is working across legacy/physical and virtual infrastructure, there’s no choice but to address all of those infrastructure elements in your service offering. The alternative is to miss the use case.

4. Procure and allocate automation skills. Cloud management platform products can help provide the scaffolding and a decent amount of the substance needed to achieve a functional infrastructure as a service offering to your starter use case.

Unless you have the good luck to be in a single vendor infrastructure, you’re very likely to have to do some automation planning and integration. You simply won’t be able to achieve your goals without getting at least one person who is good at automation scripting and has a grasp on data models. 

That’s still a far cry from trying to build from scratch and the need for a big team of professional coders. However, the point is that building infrastructure as a service is automation, not automagic.

The term “private cloud” is a controversial topic for the moment. Terminology aside, you can still pursue the modernisation of your on-premises infrastructure to increase efficiency and velocity. 

Your dev, test, security, compliance and other teams can work a lot faster and more productively via infrastructure as a service. By taking careful, well planned, properly scoped steps, it’s possible to make IaaS happen.

Article by Alex Henthorne-Iwane of QualiSystems.

Alex Henthorn-Iwane joined QualiSystems in February 2013 and is responsible for worldwide marketing and public relations. Prior to joining QualiSystems, Alex was vice president of marketing at Packet Design, a provider of network management software, and has 20+ years of experience in senior management, marketing, and technical roles at networking and security startups.

Through his roles at QualiSystems, Packet Design, CoSine Communications, Corona Networks and Lucent Technologies he has acquired expertise in cloud computing and the opportunities presented through virtualisation. He has written for Embedded Computing, Virtual Strategy Magazine, Datamation, SDN Central, Datacenter Knowledge and InformationWeek.

Connect with him on LinkedInTwitter, or SlideShare.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
Infoblox's State of Security Report spotlights Australian remote work hazards
Attackers exploit weak WiFi, remote endpoints, and the cloud, costing 50% of organisations over $1.3 million in breach damages.
Story image
Airwallex launches new bank feed integration with NetSuite
Airwallex has launched a new bank feed integration with NetSuite, developed in partnership with NetSuite solution partner, Onlineone.
Story image
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Remote Working
Australia’s remote workers face connectivity and security issues
SOTI's new report finds better video conferencing technology and improved security measures are top concerns for remote workers in Australia.
Story image
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.
Story image
Data solutions
South Australia state satellite makes significant progress
South Australia’s first state satellite has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR), moving it closer to providing tangible data solutions.
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Nutanix study reveals financial services sector lagging with multicloud adoption
Nutanix has released new research that reveals the financial services sector is lagging behind when it comes to multicloud adoption.
Story image
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
New Relic enters multi-year partnership with Microsoft Azure
New Relic has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises accelerate cloud migration and multi-cloud initiatives. 
Story image
Revenue operations is taking centre stage
As the business world continues to evolve, new demands need to be met to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. 
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.