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Virtualization and the private cloud: A guide for enterprise CIOs

This guide looks at the trends, best practices and critical criteria for building a true strategy around virtualization and the private cloud.

Virtualization continues to receive attention in enterprise organizations wanting to reduce IT costs and create a more flexible, efficient and automated applications workload environment. But once you've virtualized your server room, what's next? Some organizations are looking at a private cloud (also called an internal cloud or corporate cloud), an enterprise computing architecture that's protected by a firewall.

The goal of the private cloud model is to allow an administrator to manage his technology infrastructure from a single point and assign resources as needed. Owning and managing a private infrastructure may be less cost-effective for a business, but it increases the organization's ability to manage and protect data. This is especially important for businesses that have strict compliance regulations. This guide looks at the trends, best practices and criteria for building a true strategy around virtualization and the private cloud.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefing section.

How do I get started with virtualization?

Virtualization has profoundly changed the IT industry, and the technology will continue to have an impact as it matures and evolves. This e-book, Introduction to Virtualization, covers the basics of the technology for IT professionals who want to reap the benefits of virtualization in their data centers. In addition to the basics of virtualization technology, the e-book covers disaster recovery (DR), server consolidation, testing and development, high availability, storage, security, and the three key virtualization platforms: Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX.

Learn more in "Introduction to virtualization e-book." Also:

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  • Best practices in implementing virtualization
    This guide to virtualization implementation best practices helps managers make the most of OS, application and server virtualization as put forth in this sample chapter from "The Shortcut Guide to Selecting the Right Virtualization Solution," written by Greg Shields.
  • Killing complexity: New virtualization management strategies
    In this article, we discuss how administrators can address server virtualization management challenges through automated server provisioning and by consolidating their various management tools.
  • Virtual desktops and virtualized applications: An FAQ for IT executives
    With so many options -- application virtualization, application or OS streaming, virtual desktop infrastructure and desktop virtualization -- companies are also still getting a handle on the terminology. Get the FAQs on virtualization.

What is a private cloud, and who is using it?

A private, or internal, cloud is a means of centralizing data center resources and delivering them on the fly as business demands change and IT attempts to become a service delivery unit to the company. With server virtualization as its basis, cloud technology has a way to go, but CIOs are finding it a powerful vision.

Learn more in "Beyond server virtualization: The private cloud." Also:

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    A private cloud may leverage server virtualization to drive business flexibility, but many of its management challenges (both people and boxes) are as yet untested.
  • Merrill Lynch travels rocky road to 'stateless computing'
    Merrill Lynch touted its "stateless computing" cloud at LinuxWorld. But one analyst countered that the project pushed the limits of technology to the edge.

How do you manage the implementation and costs of a private cloud?

There are no shortcuts or magic formulas to proper deployment and management of a private cloud. Any private cloud project must begin with a strong foundation and a realistic appraisal of the current environment -- particularly server virtualization -- and weigh that against the company's future needs for intracloud services and quality of service.

Learn more in "Tips for integrating server virtualization in a private cloud." Also:

  • Private cloud replaces antiquated IT infrastructure for $300K per year
    For the price of a SAN, Marian College is building a private cloud to create a flexible IT architecture and help transform the liberal arts school into a university.
  • Find your server in the cloud (SearchSOA.com)
    William Brogden discusses how you can move all or part of your server load to the cloud, pay for only the services used, and not waste efforts on extra hardware.

How does cloud computing work in the data center?

Table of Contents

As hosting and service providers seek out the most efficient and powerful infrastructures for their "cloud" support capabilities, high utilization and lowest total costs become imperative. Amazon.com, Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., IBM, Hewlett-Packard, EMC Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft are all building huge cloud compute capabilities. Large enterprises and governments that also seek high performance and lowest costs will and should seek to emulate these providers and create "private cloud" data centers where it makes sense.

Learn more in "Private cloud datacenters." Also:

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What security issues should be addressed when using cloud computing?

All the risks to sensitive corporate data associated with outsourcing apply to cloud computing, and then some. Enforcing security policy and meeting compliance requirements are tough enough when you deal with third parties and their known or unknown subcontractors, especially on a global scale. Add the blurry characteristics of the cloud and the entry of nontraditional vendors into the technology market, and some red flags go up.

Learn more in "How to secure cloud computing." Also:

  • Enterprise cloud computing concerns in the planning phase
    Not all applications will run well in a cloud environment. Usage, security and other issues matter when planning an enterprise cloud computing architecture.
  • Virtual security tools fill gap in virtual data center
    Have the benefits of data center virtualization -- streamlined infrastructure, costs savings -- blinded you to computer network security gaps? A virtual firewall promises insight.

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