By Ken Won, Director of Product Marketing, Cloud/Automation Solutions
The vision and promise of cloud computing are clear. But in practical terms, how do you get started? Deploying a private cloud can seem challenging at first, but here are some pragmatic steps you can take to ensure your transformation into a cloud-based IT shop gets off on the right foot.
Before you start
Before getting started, you should have a strategic plan in place. Cloud should not be viewed as a single project, but rather as a journey, or transformation. As with any journey, you need to know where you’re going. And that’s the purpose of the strategic plan.
Step 1: Automate Operations Tasks
Most IT organizations have some level of automation already, usually through the use of scripts. In order to ensure you have a strong foundation to build on, IT organizations need to build out a more robust set of tools and practices that can reliably automate a larger set of common tasks.
By methodically replacing routine manual tasks, you can be sure that as your private cloud environment scales, you and your colleagues will be able to keep up with lifecycle management in a highly repeatable and consistent manner, and with reliably high-quality results.
Here are several use cases that typically provide a high ROI, and are good tasks to focus on from the start:
● Server provisioning
● DB provisioning
● Configuration management
● Patch management
● Run Book Automation
Automating operations tasks can achieve some powerful results, including an increase in the server-to-admin ratio from 30-to-1 to 200-to-1, and a decrease in the time to update server configurations from 2 weeks to 15 minutes.
Step 2: Automate IT Processes
Also known by some practitioners as orchestration, this strategy combines multiple tasks into automated workflows that require only monitoring by an administrator. Automated workflows are particularly useful at enabling collaboration within a larger team, while standardizing on best practices.
Here is a checklist of IT processes that should be automated in a private cloud environment:
● Compliance reporting and management
● Change management
● Application deployment
Once again, the results some customers have experienced are impressive, including a reduction in the time to repair servers from the 2-3 hours to seconds, and an 80% improvement in application deployment time.
Step 3: Enable self-serve and on-demand services
While the first two steps can drastically improve the efficiency of your IT organization by freeing up practitioners from completing mundane tasks and standardizing on best practices, the most powerful transformation that a cloud strategy can offer occurs when you extend automation to the business user.
Allowing users to self-serve requests for IT resources takes everything to another level. You create a service catalog and expose the services through a portal that business users access, and then use your established task and process automation in the background to provision and manage services. Here is a diagram to illustrate how it can all work together.
Learn more …
Find out how these three step can help ensure success in deploying private clouds, and to hear about HP’s experiences implementing these practices in our own IT organization.
To continue this conversation, join us in this week at the HP Power to Change event. A complimentary, online virtual event, you will hear from industry visionaries, analysts and practitioners who will be discussing how technology change is affecting you. Get practical advice on where you can reduce time to deploy, increase business value and simplify operations management.