Finding the best private cloud solution for your company can seem like a daunting task. You don’t want to commit to something that won’t meet your needs a year from now, but you also don’t want to overpay for features and capabilities you won’t use. There’s also the worry that you and your cloud vendor won’t share the same expectations when it comes to achieving results from your private cloud resources.
With so many new providers entering the cloud market and a wide variety of solutions to choose from, how can you find the best private cloud for your organization’s needs? Doing your homework, establishing a clear picture of success, and knowing what’s important – and what isn’t – will put you in a position to select a solution that enables your company to get the most value of your private cloud deployment.
Assess your internal resources
It’s vital that you conduct a thorough evaluation of your in-house expertise and any other resources you plan to use to administer and maintain your private cloud environment. Some companies have large IT departments that include many different technical disciplines and a range of backgrounds. Those organizations may not need as much support with day-to-day private cloud management or they might have only limited requests for outside technical expertise to augment what they have on staff.
On the other hand, many enterprises have only a handful of people in their IT groups. They may frequently rely on assistance from contractors or consultants to fill in where their team’s resources leave off. Their requirements for ongoing support will likely be much greater, and their expectations for assistance could range from time and expertise to help with user training and system integrations.
A candid appraisal of your internal ability to manage your cloud environment will allow you to identify the private cloud solution that offers the support you do need without charging you for services you don’t require.
Identify your business needs
There are many commonalities in the factors organizations should weigh when evaluating a shift to a private cloud, but not all of them apply in every situation. Before you start prioritizing functionalities that aren’t truly important to your company, take the time to look across your enterprise and determine if and how much these elements impact your needs in a private cloud solution:
- Security – will you need to maintain compliance with regulatory or other security mandates based on your industry, workloads, customer base, data retention policies, or other factors?
- Integration – are your systems spread across various ages and generations, and will they require customization to bring them together effectively?
- Resource-intensive workloads or applications – do you need specific hardware, bandwidth capacity, or other resources to deploy and maintain your core systems?
- Predictability – do you anticipate large swings in your resource needs or consumption patterns, or will your use be relatively static?
Doing a deep dive into your business needs and use cases will enable you to more clearly identify where private cloud can help you reach your goals. You can then align your organization’s requirements with the capabilities of the most fitting solution.
Understand your maturity path
Your company’s growth strategy is likely a frequent topic of conversation but getting bigger isn’t the only measure you need to consider when selecting a private cloud solution. You should also have a good understanding of what maturity looks like for your organization and where you are right now on the maturity spectrum. For example:
- Do you anticipate adding new services, workloads, systems, or data types as part of your company’s mission?
- Will your enterprise’s strategic initiatives prompt you to deploy new disciplines – a sales team, product development professionals, etc. – later in your lifecycle
It’s an iterative, ongoing process, so begin by acknowledging that you’ll move through different stages as time goes on and your private cloud needs may change along the way. Developing an awareness of your company’s maturity path will give you the insight to select a private cloud solution that’s not only a good match for you today, but will continue to serve your needs down the road.
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