Dec 16 2014

Private Clouds Can Help Businesses Herd the Virtual Server Cats

The chaos of IT resource management makes the private cloud and its control capabilities a great shepherd.

Using the expression “herding cats” can be a pretty funny image (as proved in an old Super Bowl commercial), and it’s a fairly good way to explain a situation that is nearly impossible and way too complex.

Unfortunately, for many organizations, managing their virtual server infrastructure has become a lot like herding cats. Maybe they started out with something that was easily managed and that they had a clear understanding of. A virtual server for email over here, a virtual database system over there — nothing too complex.

But as more applications and systems became virtualized, and as different business units and departments started to request virtual systems, it all started to fall apart. IT specialists couldn’t figure out just how many virtual servers they had running at any one time. Periodic investigations and audits turned up lots of virtual servers essentially doing the same thing, as well as a number of orphaned virtual servers that weren’t being used at all.

Virtual management tools have helped to a certain degree to lessen some of this craziness. But there may be a better way to bring virtualization under better management while making it easier for departments, business units and end users to request and supply virtual servers. That’s right, it’s that rare instance of making a technology easier to manage and opening it up to be more accessible to end users. And the way to reach this virtualization nirvana is through the deployment of a private cloud.

Private Cloud Eases IT Provisioning

How can a private cloud get all of these virtual kitties to follow the straight path to improved virtualization management? By relying on many of the same technologies and processes that make it possible for public cloud providers to exist. Businesses can gain several benefits from a private cloud. For example, research from the Aberdeen Group has shown a 40 percent reduction in IT expenses for organizations that deploy a private cloud.

What’s more, by implementing a private cloud, an organization can gain deep visibility into how its virtual infrastructure resources are being used and achieve precise control over those resources. These capabilities ensure that virtual servers go away when their intended task is over and generally work to prevent virtual machine sprawl. Also, a private cloud empowers end users, making it possible for them to log in to a private cloud portal and request the application they need — which meets all company technology, security and compliance requirements — without anyone in IT having to lift a finger. Finally, a private cloud makes it possible to understand how IT resources are used, to gain insight into IT resource costs and usage, and to even effectively charge for the use of those resources.

But getting a private cloud isn’t as simple as just doing it. Companies can run into numerous challenges when building a private cloud. For example, 52 percent of organizations say they lack the IT expertise needed to deploy a private cloud, and 38 percent are limited by an aging IT infrastructure.

These can be tough challenges. But by laying the right groundwork for private cloud implementations, businesses stand to reap many benefits.

Martin Poole/ThinkStock

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