Here are eight steps for going from zero to private cloud. Note that I didn’t say eight "easy" steps. But don’t let that bother you--nothing that’s easy is ever worth doing anyway. 1. Define business objectives for cloud migration. 2. Prioritize objectives. 3. Create and promote your cloud vision and strategy. 4. Identify organizational readiness. 5. Analyze operational and technical readiness. 6. Define your private cloud architecture. 7. Create a realistic timeline. 8. Execute.
Amazingly, step one, which is the most important, is the most commonly forgotten. Stop making IT decisions based on buzzwords and marketing fluff! Before you begin down the road to private cloud, make sure you have a set of clearly defined business objectives for doing so. If cloud won’t provide business advantages, then cloud isn’t right for you. Hint: Think along the lines of faster deployment of new business-enabling services.
I won’t bore you to death with the concept of prioritization for step two. We all understand priorities. I will, however, give you one hard-and-fast rule for prioritization: You can only have one top priority. There are no ties in a priority list.
One thing you may forget if you run IT or the company is that your users/employees actually call the shots. Step three is critical because if you don’t inform the users and IT staff of what you’re doing--and why--things will get squirrely. IT staff will think they’re out of a job, users will think performance will suffer or they’ll lose their Facebook access, and so on. Have a vision and plan a strategy, and promote them companywide.
Steps four and five go hand in hand. Analyze your organization for both operational and organizational readiness--where are you now and what needs to be fixed/added/trained/etc.--before moving forward. One common organizational change required is cross-training. Get your IT staff out of their silos and into an organic team.
For step six, get technical and define the architecture you’ll build on. Look at the services you want to deliver and design a topology that will support them. The last step will be choosing hardware/vendors that fit your architecture requirements. Hint: Never start with a hardware/vendor choice and let that dictate the architecture.
Have you ever committed to a due date for a project that was way too close and missed the date or went frantic to meet it? Step seven just says don’t do that. Cloud is a big change--plan for it that way and add cushion.
With the first seven steps completed, it’s time to put your plan in place and implement the private cloud. Take a deep breath: If you did the first seven steps correctly, step eight may be your easiest. You’ll have some headaches, sure, but you’ll know when they’re coming and have cushion in your deadlines to manage them.
For more in depth information on this topic see Fundamentals: The Human Factor in Private Cloud Deployments.
This post is not intended as an endorsement for any of the vendors/products mentioned. All companies are used for example purposes only.
Joe Onisick is the founder of Define the Cloud and a principal engineer for Cisco's INSBU. Onisick has 17 years of IT experience spanning a broad range of disciplines, starting with server and network administration. From 2000-2005, Onisick was a US Marine, where he served in ... View Full Bio