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Making the Move from Virtual Data Center to Private Cloud

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Making the Move from Virtual Data Center to Private Cloud

There is a thin line between virtualization and cloud computing.They are often confused to be the same but there are many significant differences between the two. While virtualization is the keystone of cloud computing,there are many other stones that are needed to create a cloud computing structure.Simply put, virtualization is a technology while cloud computing is a service that uses virtualization as its foundation.

While virtualization is about creating a virtual resource, cloud computing can be described as
a setup where shared computing resources, software, or data are delivered on-demand through the Internet,somewhat like tapping electricity from the grid. Several other characteristics separate a private cloud from virtualization. These include self-service, multi-tenancy,broad network access, elastic scaling of resources, calculated service, hostedservices, etc. along with direct control over data to users.

The two technologies, though similar, are not interchangeable, and the difference is significant enough to affect your business decisions.

Moving from Virtualized Data Center to Private Cloud

Organizations that are contemplating a shift from virtual data centers should brainstorm on the following factors to craft a successful cloud migration strategy:

1. Evaluate Costs: Even with virtualization techniques, there are real costs involved like that of licensing, hardware resource consumption, and support infrastructure.Cloud migrations reduce hardware and IT staffing expenses, but these benefits vary with each application. For example: mobile applications with randomly increasing or decreasing demand yield a greater return on investment when moved to the cloud. However, applications using legacy enterprise hardware such as earlier versions of an Oracle database might actually be more expensive when run in the cloud. Organizations should also evaluate network and bandwidth costs.

2. Hardware Obsolescence: Server hardware becomes obsolete with time and to cope with this unexpected obsolescence, organizations may choose to migrate to the cloud instead of investing in server upgrades.They can integrate a cloud services roadmap into their hardware lifecycle policy to move on-premises resources to the cloud.

3. Application Requirements: For newer applications that run on top of modern operating systems, compatibility and performance are not an issue because most cloud providers allocate hardware resources to hosted servers on need basis. Applications relying on legacy operating systems or having critical local dependencies may not benefit from the performance boost that the cloud provides. Lab testing can be used to understand how an application will behave in a cloud environment. Organizations can take a call to migrate to private cloud depending upon what their majority requirements are.

4. Hardware Scalability: Some IT analysts suggest that cloud services are ideal for hosting hardware-intensive workloads because of their limitless scalability. However, this scalability has a cost attached to it.

5. Cloud Infrastructure Considerations:
If an organization plans to keep resources on-premises,the cloud network must function as an extension of the on-premises Active Directory forest. This means that the organization will typically have to deploy cloud-based domain controllers, DNS servers and possibly DHCP servers.More importantly, the organization will need to establish a secure communications path between the on-premises and cloud network. This requires thorough planning before the migration process.

6. Management: Private clouds offer more control in an on-premise environment, but management falls upon the organization's shoulders. Migrating to a private cloud means you will be responsible for your security, performance monitoring and more.  

7. Defining Migration Timeframes: It is beneficial for organizations to determine migration timeframes for their data and applications. While some choose to migrate everything to the cloud all at once, it is more effective to break the migration down by workload, starting with less critical applications.

Conclusion:

Making the move from a virtualized IT environment to a private cloud requires thorough planning and assessment of various risks and rewards, without which
private cloud migrations can easily go off track. You need to contemplate whether you want to go for an all-out migration or move certain services to the cloud for the various benefits associated while continuing to operate others on your virtual data center. Once you have evaluated all the factors, you need to come up with a migration game plan that minimizes user disruption and also decide whether you want to repurpose your unused on-premise technology or simply let it collect dust.
[Cloudy edited the post at Jun 29, 2016 17:09 PM]
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