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Private Clouds Can Propel Your Business … if Your Network Doesn’t Hold You Back

Posted by Brocade on Jul 14, 2015 11:26:06 AM

Private Cloud

Unexpected consequences. They’re everywhere in life. All the time, all over the world, someone is making a plan to solve a problem. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for most of us to envision the full impact or range of tradeoffs associated with that plan.

For example, think about a family moving to a bigger house. With a home twice the size of their old one, they now have more room for the kids, additional space to grow, and a solution to key problems (like not having enough bathrooms). But did the parents properly plan for all the costs this new home entails? Are they ready for double the cost of heating and cooling bills? Have they braced for the higher taxes and additional maintenance work?

Many organizations are going through a similar scenario as they begin to deploy private cloud and virtualization technologies. Like the family, they clearly understand the anticipated benefits and advantages, but they’re likely unaware of the hidden costs. And without this knowledge, their private cloud investment may require more resources than they think.

However, private clouds can bring immediate efficiencies to a business when deployed correctly. For instance, they can boost server resource utilization, while significantly reducing or ending virtualization headaches like VM sprawl and orphan applications. Moreover, users can get their requested applications and services without stressing the company’s IT resources or waiting for IT to get around to their request.

So what’s the downside of deploying a private cloud? 

Think about this scenario. A company has successfully implemented a big virtual machine server farm, with lots of automated private cloud provisioning and management capabilities. Dedicated VMs are popping up everywhere to fix all kinds of needs. Users love the response times, and the company’s business units are embracing IT as an actual business enabler. It’s a true win-win! Or is it?

What happens when everyone realizes that the data center wasn’t ready for the added stress and workload that came with the private cloud and virtualization implementation? Suddenly, the network is straining under all the new servers and applications. Storage requests continue to grow exponentially. And, before long, the whole system is at risk of breaking down.

How does IT address this? And with all of these virtual instances popping up almost automatically, how do you even figure out the root cause of the problems?

Successful IT organizations make sure that they never end up in this situation in the first place. While great tools can help you monitor, optimize, and manage virtualized infrastructure to address some of these problems, the real solution is to eliminate complexity right from the start.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to separate key parts of your data center resources and infrastructure. For example, with all of the added traffic and resource demands that a private cloud places on your network and storage systems, you can be smart by taking storage traffic out of the equation.

Consider this: Rather than having IP storage traffic competing with virtual server instances and critical applications for network bandwidth, you can implement a dedicated IP storage network that keeps critical storage traffic on its own network.

With a dedicated IP storage network, you get a much clearer view into the resource usage and demands that the virtual infrastructure and private cloud are putting on the network. And, if problems arise, you have a lot less complexity to deal with. Plus, there’s the added benefit of keeping your critical storage traffic safe from the peaks and bursts that are often associated with private cloud infrastructure.

Nothing exists in a vacuum. Every action taken to address one problem has the potential to create new unintended problems. By being smart and proactive, you can plan things out to make sure you can reap the rewards of virtualized and private cloud infrastructure without creating a new set of unintended negative consequences. Best of all, you win, your customers win, and your company wins.

This blog was originally posted on the Brocade Community Forum by Jim Rapoza and reposted with permission.

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Tags: Cloud, Brocade, Networking, Technologies, Virtualization, Suppliers