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Private Cloud: Keeping Corporate IT Relevant – Part 2 – The Answer
Dick Csaplar, Aberdeen Group
SEP 27, 2013 05:08 AM
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In June 2013, Aberdeen surveyed 103 organizations to discover how companies deploy and manage Private Clouds. In the first blog we focused on how Corporate IT is being challenged by both the Public Cloud and shadow IT in competing for limited corporate funding for computing services. In this, the second blog we will see how IT is meeting the increasing demands of their end-users, gaining better control, and lowering costs for IT services by using Private Cloud tools.

Today, corporate employees have an alternative to old school IT infrastructures. Rather than solely depending on their IT departments for computing services, they can go outside the company and contract directly for Cloud applications and services, completely bypassing the in-house IT department. How can Corporate IT combat this trend? The Entire report can be read here “Private Cloud: Keeping Corporate IT Relevant.”

Keeping Corporate IT Relevant — Private Cloud

Private Cloud is a set of tools that bring Public Cloud capabilities into the corporate datacenter, deploying them behind the firewall for the exclusive use of the organization.

There are many Private Cloud management tools selling in the market today. While they vary in the features they offer, they all share a similar technical requirement in that they are deployed on top of server virtualization. Figure 2 shows that the adoption rate of server virtualization has slowed over the last few years. This has several causes, including the afore-mentioned deployment of applications into the Public Cloud. Other causes include the difficulty of virtualizing Tier 1 applications or migrating those Tier 1 applications from platforms that don’t have an easy path to virtualization, such as some versions of Unix or Linux. (See the report “Server Virtualization in Large Enterprises: Most Benefits are Still to Be Gained” for more information on this topic.)

IT Relevant 3

As the use of server virtualization has reached critical mass, the deployments of Private Cloud have quickly grown. In the most recent The State of Servers survey conducted by Aberdeen in June 2013, and as shown in Figure 2, 37% of responding organizations report that they have a Private Cloud program. This is an 85% increase over the 20% of companies reported in 2012.

Private Cloud Features

The dividing line between server virtualization and a Private Cloud can be fuzzy, as some functions are shared by both technologies. Generally, a Private Cloud is characterized by increased end-user involvement in managing their own computing resources, and, for IT, a more granular control of the company’s computing resources.

There are three broad categories of Private Cloud functions:

Increased End-User Involvement — In a traditional IT department, users wishing to get a new application would be required to fill out a form and wait for IT resources to schedule the application’s deployment. With a fully functioning Private Cloud, end-users can log into their own management portal and deploy the application themselves, without any direct IT involvement. Departments can track their IT spending and control which users can access which services. There’s a potential downside to this, as many regular users likely don’t have the required skill to fully self-manage IT. This means that an effective self-service tool needs to be able to match the users’ understanding, providing just the right level of information.

Improved Operational Efficiency — Private Cloud enables a more granular management of computing resources. Examples include operational dashboards, application lifecycle management, and the automated deployment of computing resources, such as allocating more memory, storage, or networking bandwidth.

Greater Financial Management — A fully deployed Private Cloud can allow end-users to control their IT services and be charged only for the capacity and applications they consume. Features such as chargeback, showback, and automated management approvals for new services give end-users increased insight into and control of their IT expenses. A Private Cloud implementation also needs to account for all the components that make up the server value chain, including, and especially, the software.

A full list of Private Cloud features provided by vendors was presented in the survey and respondents were asked to identify which have been deployed. The full report has the full list of features, as well as the percentage of respondents that currently have them deployed.

Summary: Corporate IT values End-User Involvement

For the first time in corporate history, end-users have a choice as to where they can get IT services. If they choose to go outside the organization, corporate IT stands to lose some of its funding, headcount, and control of the company’s computing infrastructure. In short, IT can become irrelevant.

IT needs to listen, though. Often, Shadow IT happens because IT doesn’t listen to end-users, or is not able to respond fast enough (i.e., can’t get out of its own way in a rapidly changing landscape). That’s really the problem that Private Cloud solves. When IT has a framework of their own services to offer, they become more agile and responsive.

There are many features IT can deploy as part of their Private Cloud deployment and they have chosen to emphasize enhancing the end-user experience. IT seeks to have their end-users more involved in selecting, managing, and deploying their own services, just as if they were dealing with a Public Cloud provider.

Satisfied end-users will “vote” to keep more of the IT spending in-house and part of the corporate IT budget. This is this way that Corporate IT will stay relevant in this Cloud computing age.

Dick Csaplar

Senior Research Analyst, Virtualization and the Cloud

IT Infrastructure Group

Aberdeen Group

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