One of the biggest IT buzz words of the past few years, ‘cloud computing’ has brought incredible promise to the world of information technology. Cloud computing interest has lead to widespread curiosity and awareness of public cloud services.
Pooled computing resources, divided and allocated to different users, have been proven in the development and testing realm of IT to have tremendous benefits. Those benefits however have been overshadowed by concerns of a lack of security and uptime assurances among Enterprise IT executives.
Transitioning to a private cloud computing environment will lessen, if not eliminate those concerns by dedicating exclusive hardware to each user. Instead of your data being stored off “in the cloud” somewhere, one can point to a group of servers in a data center and say, “that is your data, and only your data, on those servers,” alleviating security concerns. It is a “best of both worlds” solution that can bring important benefits like improved uptime and reliability at a lower cost than on traditional IT infrastructure.
In fact, according to Yankee Group’s recent survey on Cloud Computing, private cloud computing is preferred 2:1 over fully managed public cloud solutions. 67% of respondents preferred the private cloud, whereas only 28% preferred a fully managed public cloud, 21% preferred an unmanaged public cloud, and 8% were looking to a hybrid cloud solution.
That is why we compiled the top 5 reasons why you should transition to private cloud computing and rethink your IT infrastructure.
Much like a dedicated or colocated server, the security of your private cloud depends on a variety of factors. However, if you have the proper physical security, anti-virus software, and firewall rules in place, you can rest assured your data as safe as if it were sitting right next to your desk. With a private cloud, you know where your servers are located and that the proper physical and network security is in place. You can meet and talk to those in charge of providing support for your hardware and come visit it if you like.
This is one of the most alluring benefits of cloud computing. The ability to spin up and tear down a server in a matter of minutes is incredibly powerful and useful. No longer is there any wasted effort in trying to size a server beforehand when you can create a server on the fly. Need more disk space? More RAM? More CPU? No problem. With private cloud computing, you can reallocate resources in moments without worrying about finding a physical server that will have the resources your new server needs.
Virtualization significantly increases the value of your physical server hardware. Instead of having 5 servers that average 10% CPU utilization, you can virtualize the 5 servers on one physical server, sharing the resources. This decreases rack space, power usage, and is easier to manage. This also allows you to create copies of your servers and have them up and running very quickly, now that they have been virtualized. If you have the proper resource management tools installed on your server, you can automatically allocate the appropriate resources to a server when it needs it or turn off unused servers during low usage; an extraordinarily powerful and efficient way to manage your servers.
When you connect a SAN to your private cloud, incredible redundancy can be achieved. Not only can you load balance between servers, automatically shifting server resources between servers on the fly, but in an N+1 environment (having at least 1 extra server than absolutely necessary), you can shut down one server without causing downtime. Imagine performing maintenance on your server like adding more RAM, replacing a hard drive, or upgrading software, without experiencing any downtime. When configured correctly you could power off one server and it would automatically shift the virtual servers over to an available server in your cloud. Taking your disaster protection up one level, you could have another SAN in another data center and perform SAN to SAN replication for a hot site DR environment capable of full recovery in less than 1 hour.
The best part about a private cloud is that not only do you get all of the great benefits of virtualization and security, but it can be cheaper and less of a hassle than hosting your own servers or buying dedicated servers. If your company has more than 2 servers, it could benefit from virtualization. If your company has more than 10 servers, it could benefit from private cloud computing with a dedicated SAN and multiple physical host servers. The public cloud revolutionized Information Technology forever; the private cloud brings the benefits to the masses.
Besides providing some tremendous benefits of pooled computing resources and virtualization, these 5 reasons show why transitioning to private cloud computing maintains the security and reliability of a normal dedicated server. The private cloud is not for everyone, but a managed data center operator can make the transition to private cloud computing an affordable process and enable you to fully experience all of the great benefits of the private cloud.
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