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If you absolutely must do a ‘private cloud’ thing, here's how

Mythical (yet important) conversations with The Finance Guy

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The public cloud has reached such a level of maturity that network hardware vendors are now spending vast amounts of R&D funds on developing systems that let you make the most of public cloud systems from within your private cloud.

Take storage as an example: in some cases you have vendors spotting a new market for integration devices to fill the gap (Avere Systems springs to mind as I've played with its toys quite recently). In others, it's where storage vendors including SMC and NetApp have acknowledged that if you don't want to buy local disk from them, they could do worse than sell you a funky device that lets you hook your local storage into its remote partner.

Integrated public/private processing is now starting to see some progress.

Incidentally, the likes of Apcera are devising mechanisms that let you bring public and private clouds together in a generic “soup” of processing power into which you pour your work, rather like grid computing promised a few years ago (but hopefully more successfully in a commercial sense).

This is an interesting area to watch, because it will finally bring some reality to the vapourware nonsense that public cloud providers have been touting for years about hiking power up and down on demand.

Particularly important in this context is your backup strategy: if you're running applications in your private cloud, the public cloud is the perfect place to store your backups and archives to mitigate the risk of losing a data centre to fire or earthquake.

The approach for your private cloud strategy is threefold, then.

You have to be objective and do a genuine evaluation of what belongs best in the private cloud and what it's sensible to put in the public cloud. In other words, put each of your applications in the place that maximises its ability to give business value.

Next, be mindful that the only way to achieve the above is to architect your private cloud as an enabler to your public cloud services.

Finally, once you've made your private cloud into a public cloud enabler, exploit this so you can add value to the private cloud. Archiving and backups are the obvious first step you can take now whilst keeping an eye on developments in generic public/private cloud processing.

Now it's down to you. ®

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