As an IT professional begins to peel back the layers of the private cloud and understand all of the parts of the IT infrastructure that it can automate and impact, a rational conclusion would be that the private cloud has the ability to be the new center of the IT universe. If you’re relatively new to the private cloud architecture (yes, the private cloud truly is an IT architecture), I can understand that this may seem like an optimistic viewpoint, but when you step through the complete set of capabilities, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Reach across multiple platforms
To get started on making my case for this point, we need some background information. A great place to get started is from a video I posted a while back titled “The IT Pro’s Heaven – The Private Cloud,” which provides a thorough overview of the full gambit of technologies that encompass the private cloud architecture. To summarize this video in a sentence, with Microsoft System Center at its core, a private cloud can automate, manage, and deploy physical, virtual, and cloud-based resources across multiple platforms for your organization, as well as provide self-service for your customers. This means that if I have a traditional datacenter with the majority of my IT infrastructure running on bare metal (i.e. not virtualized), a private cloud can interact with those assets on all levels. The same holds true if your infrastructure is largely virtual with Microsoft, VMware, or Xen-based virtualization: the private cloud can handle all aspects of that environment.
Private cloud for public cloud-based resources
What might be a bit more surprising to some is that the private cloud can also do the same for public cloud-based resources as well. As I mentioned in a previous blog post here, there are multiple cloud architectures available in the public cloud. When IT pros think of moving IT assets to the public cloud, the initial reservation is the amount of control that is lost when moving a resource they are responsible for there. This is where the public cloud actually shines. The private cloud can interact with, manage, automate, and deploy applications hosted in Windows Azure; deploy software hosted on VMs or deploy VMs to the cloud also hosted in Windows Azure; or manage an Office 365 implementation.
Total infrastructure control
To summarize, through a single pane of glass, the private cloud gives you control of your entire infrastructure regardless of where its living (physical, virtual, or cloud), and the workload is a first-class citizen operationally as it can be automated, managed, and deployed in a manner that makes the most sense for your business.
So back to my original point. With this knowledge, it really makes sense to evaluate your plans for using the private cloud in a manner that helps add operational efficiency while allowing you to leverage all aspects of your existing IT infrastructure. The private cloud has the ability to be the new center of the IT universe, and there is no forced upgrade to all virtual assets or major changes to run your servers or applications in the public cloud while still maintaining the control you seek of your infrastructure as an IT pro.
Ready to adapt
Even better news is that with Windows Server 2012, your IT infrastructure is ready to adapt to your business requirements better than ever. Whether it’s higher density on your VM hosts, better performance, or improved interaction with cloud-based resources, this is a significant paradigm shift worth looking into as well.
Looking to get started with the private cloud? Resources to begin to download evaluation software can be found here. A blog post on the resources needed to build a private cloud lab environment can be found on the Slashdot site here. Additional information on private cloud offerings can be found here.