As IT organizations move towards adopting a private cloud model, many are trying to quantify the return-on-investment (ROI) of their cloud. The case for moving to a self-service cloud model is largely based on business agility, and most organizations readily admit that this is their primary driver as exhibited by this Gartner survey:
But what exactly is “business agility,” and how do you know if you’ve achieved this goal? You need to ensure your private cloud investments are actually generating their expected value.
One key consideration is the speed with which new workloads or applications are deployed. Before adopting a self-service cloud model, many organizations can take days or even weeks from the time an individual in a business unit makes a request, to when the service is fully deployed and available for use. The goal of cloud is to deliver Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and get this timeframe down to hours or even minutes. IT teams that can regularly achieve this goal deliver an invaluable service to their organization.
But while service delivery times are a primary consideration, another factor to consider is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the chosen cloud management platform (CMP).
Most IT organizations operate in an environment where they are being asked to do more, but with no increase in staff.
The only way to succeed in such an environment is to automate provisioning, which is clearly the role of the CMP. But if the chosen CMP requires weeks or months to turn up and configure, lengthy professional services engagements, and continual care and feeding, then you’ve just solved one problem while creating another. The right CMP should not only provide the provisioning automation, but it should also seamlessly integrate into IT’s daily activities and not itself become an overhead burden.
Another consideration is workload capacity management. It’s great to provide the organization with on-time delivery of their needs, but what if these workloads are over- or under-provisioned? It’s critical that capacity and sprawl are managed in an integrated fashion, such that both IT and the end consumers of IT services have visibility of the capacity needs of their workloads. Providing rightsizing recommendations ensures that the infrastructure is optimized for the real needs of the business. Moreover, giving stakeholders rightsizing visibility empowers the end consumers of IT to make knowledge-based decisions in real time.
Having cost visibility into these decisions further empowers the organization, though that’s a blog topic for another day. Suffice it to say that costing should also be easily integrated in your CMP implementation.
Adopting a private cloud model and choosing a CMP is a critical IT decision. But before choosing your CMP, make sure you’ve properly considered all the ROI factors.