Customers often face overwhelming demands for growth and rapid application deployment. The rapid pace of technological innovation has led to the development of new and more powerful tools for building and deploying applications. This makes it easier for organizations to create and launch new software that help their businesses become more profitable and more efficient.
In this article, we set out to define what are some of the key points IT leaders and architects should consider, before undertaking the journey of redesigning their private clouds to be more in line with current demands.
Building Infrastructure for Applications
The problem starts with application sprawl. Enterprises world-wide rely on hundreds of applications to deliver on their business, and this number is on an exponential growth path. According to a report published by the Cloud Security Alliance in late 2021, the average enterprise had 464 custom applications deployed.
On top of that, the widespread adoption of cloud computing has made it easier for organizations to access and manage large amounts of computing resources on-demand, enabling them to quickly scale their applications as needed.
There is a consistent expansion towards the multi-cloud, but due to reasons ranging from data sovereignty, cost and flexibility in features and configurations, customers find themselves divided in their multi-cloud strategy. Private cloud is here to stay, but the current state of the private cloud is one marred by struggles.
The mix of old and new technologies and the demands of application teams for AI/ML processing or just simply containers is pushing Infrastructure Leaders to adapt quickly but with existing infrastructure that cannot cope.
What To Look For When Solving for Private Cloud
The shift towards consumption-based infrastructure where customers can scale their resources and features up or down based on their needs is becoming more and more necessary. It is also one of the fundamental pushes toward cloud environments.
With the number of applications in exponential growth, having the flexibility to add and remove infrastructure with just a few clicks was a great lure as it took away from the complications of configuration, infrastructure provisioning lagging behind, the long wait for new hardware and so on.
So how can enterprises become more consumption-ready, and more cloud-like? When deploying your hybrid-cloud strategy, the first challenge is bringing it all together. Whether customers deploy state-of-the-art storage or incredibly fast networking can easily be slowed down by lack of automation processes, poor intra-team collaboration and so on.
Many environments still have a split between vital datacenter resources, where storage, networking and everything else is siloed and difficult to orchestrate.
If we take the example of Rachel, she is the “customer” of any typical Private Cloud platform, and the only demands her persona has are quick deployment of infrastructure for her new application needs.
This means that an integrated platform is a necessary step towards a more efficient, flexible, consumption-based private-cloud.
Key Points For Consumption-Based Private Cloud Architectures
Moving to an aggregated platform, like VMware Cloud Foundation takes more than a good marriage of software feature on a solid hardware deployment. It takes re-working the way teams collaborate, processes, making better use of automation and orchestration and shifting the way IT leaders deliver and measure results.
So, what are some of the key points when shifting to a platform like VMware Cloud Foundation?
- Gain insight into the infrastructure – Understand the demands on the current infrastructure and identify the resources that are being underutilized or over-provisioned. This will help identify the resources that can be made available on a consumption-based model.
- Define clear use cases – What are the use cases that can be moved to a consumption-based model? How is the business going to best leverage consumption? Is it to serve other parts of the IT environment, is it for self-service across the board, where do containers fit, what kind of services will be provisioned?
- Choosing future-proof, consumption-ready hardware – When solving for consumption in the private cloud, customers need to have a good understanding of both the hardware and the software offering. Deploying either Dell APEX, HPE Greenlake or Lenovo TruScale together with VMware Cloud Foundation is a reliable way to solve for private cloud.
- Automating provisioning and scaling – Automating the provisioning and scaling of resources based on usage patterns. With VMware Cloud Foundation, customers can leverage the power of the vRealize Automation and Orchestration suite and build customized automation templates for the entire environment.
- Continuously monitor and optimize – Monitor the usage of resources and optimize them based on usage patterns. With infrastructure on a constant growth pattern, it’s important for IT architects to keep an eye on growth and where it presents itself and be proactive about it. Workload demands are not static, and neither are infrastructure demands.
It’s important to mention that this process may take time and requires a thorough understanding of the current infrastructure. This may require significant changes to the way the organization manages and consumes IT resources. Therefore, it’s important to have a clear plan, a defined strategy and a dedicated team to execute the plan.
Building a Consumption-Based Private Cloud with VMware Cloud Foundation
VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) works to build a software-defined datacenter foundation where resources are pooled together to easily scale up or down based on application and business needs. It is an integrated software stack that brings together VMware’s compute, storage, and network virtualization products, and management tools. It’s designed to provide a common platform for building and managing private and hybrid clouds and allows customers to run, manage, connect and secure their applications.
With VMware Cloud Foundation, organizations can use the same set of tools and technologies to manage their private and public cloud environments, which can simplify and streamline management and operations. This includes features such as automated provisioning, monitoring, and scaling, as well as built-in compliance and security features, such as encryption and network segmentation.
Overall, VMware Cloud Foundation enables hybrid cloud strategies by providing a consistent and unified platform for building and operating a private cloud infrastructure within an organization’s own data center and connecting it to public cloud services. This allows organizations to take advantage of the benefits of both private and public clouds, while still maintaining control over their data and applications.
Building a consumption-based infrastructure is often an endeavor that requires both time and resources. But most importantly, it requires an exercise in introspection that needs to answer 3 fundamental questions:
- What resources and currently used and how?
- How to create repeatable, automated workflows that will benefit the way resources are delivered and deployed?
- Who is the primary user of the platform and how will they interact with it?
These are often changes that require an organizational shift, so often time and opportunity become key stakeholders which is an undertaking like moving to a consumption-based private cloud.