Cloud

Private cloud migration is a big trend in IT – and one we anticipate will only grow as the drive for greater efficiency increases. But what are the advantages of private cloud, and how can you make sure you are making the most of your organisation’s cloud migration?

[If you're new to this topic, learn what type of company should use private cloud]

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Why migrate to private cloud?

Private cloud has all the benefits of general cloud computing, with the addition of exclusivity. These advantages include:

  • Easy scalability
  • High performance
  • Efficient use of resources
  • Cost savings that can be achieved by leasing server capacity as opposed to owning it outright

Private cloud users can also expect even greater performance levels than public cloud users, since they aren’t sharing the service with other tenants. Their exclusivity also provides additional peace of mind from a security perspective.

Since 60% of organisations use cloud to host confidential data, security is a priority for a lot of companies launching cloud.

One of the major benefits of cloud computing is its elasticity. For example, with a traditional IT setup you might run one server for HR operations and a separate server for your sales department. Let’s say your HR server is busiest in the morning and your sales server is busy all afternoon and into the evening – both servers are underutilized at various points in the day, meaning you are paying for capacity you don’t need. You could virtualize both servers and run them from one piece of hardware but that is a complicated thing to implement and manage effectively.

Sidebar: Who provides private cloud services?

If you have the resources, there’s nothing to stop you creating your own private cloud network and locating it either in your own on-premises data centre or in a colocation centre. However, for many businesses, outsourcing the infrastructure and infrastructure management to a third party is a big advantage of cloud services – it’s one less thing to worry about, and relies less on you having the talent in-house to manage the provision of services. Third party providers are also able to provide reduced costs, thanks to the economies of scale, and high levels of resilience on things like power, cooling and connectivity – giving you both cost-savings and peace of mind.

Am I ready for cloud migration?

Whether you’re migrating to private or public cloud, you need to undertake the necessary planning for a smooth deployment. This should always begin with an assessment of your current IT status, and for private cloud deployment this includes:

  • Existing infrastructure – Take an inventory of your current servers, storage systems and networking infrastructure. What have you got, how much do you use it, and what state is it in? If any of your infrastructure is in good working order, you could consider using it for your private cloud. In any case, you need to determine your existing capacity and utilization levels so you know what capacity you need from your private cloud.
  • Applications – Do you have any legacy applications that are going to struggle with cloud migration? What can be done about them? For example, can you transition to new software or will this particular application have to remain off-cloud?
  • Network capacity – Can your existing network cope with cloud migration, or is it likely that increased demand would send it over the cliff? Perhaps it seems fine now, but what if everyone is so excited by the potential of the cloud that their activity levels increase, putting greater pressure on the network? If your network needs upgrading, this should be done before private cloud deployment.

It’s also essential to formalise the policies around cloud use before migration. This includes things like security clearance and billing – even as a private service, cyber hygiene is essential and you still need to keep an eye on costs. You don’t want people using cloud resources unnecessarily.

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Take it slow

Armed with this assessment, you might find that there are some applications that could be easily moved to the cloud while others will take more time. That’s fine – you don’t need to do it all at once. In fact, taking it slowly gives you time to work out any kinks in the system by monitoring and analysing the usage data that comes out of that initial migration.

Of course, there is a minimum usage limit to make private cloud deployment worth your while, so begin by looking at your existing data on peak demand levels, how long these go on for, together with average server and network utilization to figure out what this initial migration might comprise. You might want to start with one business unit as a kind of pilot scheme before rolling it out across the business.

Once you’re up and running, continue to monitor both cloud and non-cloud operations to ensure that user needs are being met throughout the transition period. As you move more of your applications to the cloud, you’ll be able to see even more opportunities to gain efficiency and maximise the potential of your private cloud.

Cloud migration made easy?

If you’re struggling to get to grips with your business’ needs, your current capacity, or your crystal ball, you’re not alone. It is a complex process and it’s worth taking time over in order for a successful, pain-free private cloud migration. We’ve put together a practical list of things to check before deployment, which should help you understand your current setup and future requirements. Or, if you’d rather speak to a human, book a cloud consultation with one of our experts.

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