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Pre-Packaged Private Cloud: 4 Questions to Ask

By James Staten
June 15, 2010 11:39 AM ET

CIO - IT professionals have the basic ingredients to cook up their own cloud-like infrastructure-but there's no recipe, and many ingredients don't combine well. Especially as infrastructure innovation evolves in a way that doesn't necessarily deliver better efficiency and instead, drives up complexity. Yet, the most common answer infrastructure and operations professionals recently told Forrester that what motivates server virtualization adoption was the need for greater efficiency and sharing of the IT infrastructure. Over the years, vendors have tried to accommodate this need, but have often provided solutions that left too much of the burden on their customers-until now. Recent integrated solutions take a big step toward delivering complete virtual infrastructures that just might solve some of the major issues IT professional face.

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Past vendor solutions were factory-integrated and built, tested and supported as a single solution to solve a specific purpose. However, their highly proprietary nature made them closed solutions with narrow use cases that left organizations at the mercy of one vendor's road map. As a result, these solutions met with only moderate success.

Chapter two of this has now begun, and its prospects are much greater, as these solutions are focused on helping customers create complete virtual infrastructures. And, rather than delivering proprietary solutions, key vendors, such as HP, IBM, Cisco and Dell, are delivering prepackaged server, storage, network and management solutions that use a preselected best-of-breed approach.

With many of the same benefits of past solutions, these new options, such as Dell's Virtual Integrated System or IBM's CloudBurst, let customers take the next step with virtualization by providing a unified approach that integrates management tools and element managers to complete requests through the entire system. Additionally, an easy transformation from a virtualized infrastructure to an internal cloud becomes feasible as most of the core elements of a cloud infrastructure are present. Tools such as automation solutions for deployment, management and monitoring, and the self-service portal for deployment requests are often included.

But, just because there is now a purchasable interpretation of what an internal cloud infrastructure should look like, this doesn't mean it's the right interpretation for every organization. When considering a packaged solution, it's essential to evaluate whether the vendor's interpretation maps to the operational processes of the organization, and, most importantly, if the organization is even ready to accept the solution as delivered. Consider these four key assessment points before moving forward:

1. Assess your virtualization maturity. If your group isn't experientially ready to standardize how workloads are deployed and doesn't trust automation to a great extent, you probably aren't ready for these types of converged infrastructures.

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This story is reprinted from CIO.com, an online resource for information executives. Story Copyright CXO Media Inc., 2012. All rights reserved.
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