My Best of MMS 2012 Series: Private Cloud 2012 Lessons Learned from Our Early Adopters

An open discussion on people who have built private clouds at customers.

Elasticity

In real live things don’t shrink that often.  Smile Free or real cheap back charge rates are not doing anything to help.

My take on this is that you should look at elasticity as a flexibility feature. Even if a cloud is no that elastic in both ways. You can shrink a cloud v1 to zero as you migrate the VMs to private cloud v2. Than dump the resources back into another pool, step by step or in one go. I’ll use whatever works to make my live easier.

Standardizing & Customer Centric Operations = Planning is Key!

These two can be hard to combine. It takes serious planning and as such an upfront investment.

Than you need to build it to optimize operations (cost & excellent service). This sounds nice but how good are we at this and what is the shelf life of a solution versus the investment?

There is a lot of preparation to do. There is a lot of things to consider. Databases, Storage, the network, security boundaries, disaster recovery planning. They advise not to do it cross domain. Hmmm … we need to address this. Seriously..

Testing => build decent scripts with variables & config files. This will help to deploy in test, acceptance & production without to many changes/work.

Make sure you define all service accounts, groups and permissions you need.

It’s all about planning and what’s being told are best practices that exist already, private cloud or not.

Self Service

  • Service Catalog is a prerequisite.
  • Self Service is key to the private cloud.
  • If people can they will do things differently. You’ll have to learn to deal with this.
  • Billing for services should be clear. Not to much detail. VMs & Storage are two good ones. Keep it simple and don’t go into memory & vCPU. Just set boundaries.

Demos

We dive into the System Center products and look at it from both the IT Pro and the consumer side of things.

Requests => Approval & Deployment

Approval process should be dynamic based on what is requested & who’s making is. You’ll also need SLAs & chargeback on these. Be careful not over complicating it or you encourage rogue IT.

RANT: IT should make things as easy as possible. And in this discussion I’m not won over for charge back. It often turns into an excel exercise. Internal IT becomes more and more like an external service provider or integrator in this model. The inherent strength of being part of the business and being in the best position to help that business move ahead is lost. Is this a complot of the integrators? It fits their model but basically a lot of that is broken very badly. The last thing internal IT should do is become like them. That will do nothing for “Business-IT alignment”. We need to leverage the possibilities of the private cloud for our business or we have no unique selling point. Not that the service providers do a better job, but at least they are not on the pay roll so the bean counters like that. And as long as they can use public cloud to get their needs served hey couldn’t care less about who does the private cloud thingy for them. So a functional IT is first and foremost what we need. That is customer centered. Alignment of business & IT is worthless without that. The latter happens ay to much.

Management

Well yes this is important. We need reports, reviews, Service Improvement Plans, look for opportunities for automation.

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