10-Time Microsoft MVP Brien Posey Outlines His Strategy for Private Cloud Development
— Brought to you by 2X Cloud Computing guest blogger Brien M. Posey —
Although the benefits of building a private cloud are somewhat obvious, those responsible for the private cloud might sometimes wonder where to begin. After all, the process of setting up a private cloud can be a big undertaking. Fortunately, there are some relatively easy best practices which if followed, can make the development process much easier.
Step one: Scope the Project
The first step in building a private cloud is to document exactly how it will be used, and what capabilities it must be able to provide. Although simple, this step is absolutely critical because it is impossible to quantify the success of your private cloud deployment unless you have some stated goals that can be used as a benchmark.
Step two: Perform a Trial Deployment
The next step in the process is to create a small scale deployment of your private cloud. This small scale deployment serves several purposes. First, you can use a lab environment to work through the deployment and configuration process in a safe environment. It is naïve to assume that an organization can deploy a private cloud in a production environment and configure everything 100% correctly on the first try. Lab deployments allow those responsible for creating a private cloud to document the deployment and configuration process so that they can get it right when the software is ultimately deployed in a production environment.
A lab deployment is also useful for training the administrative staff. Once a private cloud has been deployed and put into production, administrators will be responsible for managing and maintaining the various components. Because the lab environment will mimic the production environment (but on a smaller scale) it is ideal for training purposes. For instance, you might use the lab to teach other administrators how to update a virtual desktop or how to deliver a new application.
Step three: Capacity Planning
Your private cloud will need to have sufficient resources to service the anticipated workload, as well as enough reserve capacity to be able to absorb any spikes in demand. Furthermore, your design must be able to accommodate future growth.
Although lab deployments are often built on modest hardware, the lab environment can prove invaluable for capacity planning. It is possible for example to perform user workload testing to determine the amount of system resources that are consumed by typical user workloads on the lab hardware. The results of the testing can be extrapolated in an effort to determine the hardware resources that will be required in a production environment.
Step four: Estimate the Cost
Once you have determined the scope of the project and have done some benchmark testing and capacity planning, it becomes possible to begin estimating the cost of the project.
Some might be quick to point out that there are costs involved in the lab development process, so some costs are incurred long before the cost of a production deployment can be estimated. However, lab costs can be kept to a minimum. It is usually possible for example, to acquire free trial versions of any required software. For instance, Microsoft provides free trial copies of Windows Server and 2X offers a free trial version of 2X Remote Application Server. Likewise, it is usually possible to use modestly equipped hardware for lab testing. Some organizations even recycle old hardware for use in lab environments.
Building a private cloud is rarely a simple undertaking. Even so, the process can be made easier by working through a lab based deployment first. Doing so helps to familiarize administrators with the configuration process, while also setting realistic expectations and making it easier to accurately estimate project costs.
About Brien M. Posey
Brien Posey is a ten time Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Prior to becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien served as CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also worked as a network administrator for some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.
Since going freelance in 2001, Brien has become a prolific technical author. He has published many thousands of articles and numerous books on a wide variety of topics (primarily focusing on enterprise networking). In addition to his writing, Brien has provided consulting services to clients and speaks at IT events all over the world.
About 2X Software
2X Software is a global leader in virtual desktop and application delivery, remote access and cloud computing solutions. Thousands of enterprises worldwide trust in the reliability and scalability of 2X products. 2X offers a range of solutions to make every company’s shift to cloud computing simple and affordable.