Click here to close now.


SDN Journal Authors: Don MacVittie, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Dinko Eror, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Optimizing Your Private Cloud for the Collaboration Era

A private cloud is a great choice to host collaboration solutions - if you plan upfront

Collaboration in the cloud is a genius idea. Massively scalable and low-cost infrastructure is just what businesses need to bring seamless communication back to a mobile, global workforce. But the way that cloud has taken hold in most enterprises, via software-as-a-service (SaaS), may be too fast and loose for some of today's enterprise data, which is highly regulated and thus must be highly secured.

Private clouds are growing in popularity as a result. A private cloud provides scalability while slashing IT costs and complexity, all without compromising security. For many organizations, it offers the best blend of public and private network.

As organizations plan their private cloud deployment, they should be aware of the typical issues that they may face. According to a June 2012 Forrester survey of US IT decision-makers that had deployed private clouds at their enterprise, 62 percent encountered problems with security and compliance, while 52 percent faced trouble integrating the cloud with existing tools and apps. Meeting service level agreements with customers and end users was a problem for nearly four out of 10 users, while nearly a third of IT buyers faced problems with software licensing or creating self-service access for users. The likelihood of these issues arising increases if your organization is running high-bandwidth applications such as video collaboration.

As with most IT-related challenges, the key to making your deployment as smooth as possible is to arm yourself in advance. Once you know the likely causes of troubles, you can forge a strategy to mitigate or avoid them. What follows are best practices to combat each of these potential complications.

Issue: Increased security and compliance risk.
Strategy: Holistic evaluation of your security policies.

Over time, security policies tend to stack up. It's a lot easier to add new policies on top of old than it is to go back and eliminate ones that are no longer needed. To combat this, many organizations have made it a best practice to re-evaluate all policies every year. The purpose is to identify and cull older policies that could be an impediment to agility and growth. When adding a private cloud, a security review is more important than ever. Get rid of policies that do not add value to the business and conflict with cloud use. If new policies need to be added, make sure they are fully automated and non-intrusive so as not to impede employee collaboration and workflows - regardless of cloud use.

Issue: Integration challenges.
Strategy: Prepare and train IT staff for intervention.

Few technologies stand alone in today's data center. Collaboration tools, in particular, can involve a matrix of protocols and codecs that can make interoperability challenging. Moreover, most organizations will be using a mix of outsourced software services in combination with internally hosted services, and these will need to connect and interact with one another. As cloud technology matures, standards will emerge to make this task easier. But for the time being, you may need to manually intervene. The sooner you prepare and train your IT staff for this hurdle, the more efficient you will be in responding to demands.

Issue: Unpredictable performance.
Strategy: Protect mission-critical workloads.

The point of cloud is to push up utilization rates to achieve greater efficiency. But adding heavy, unpredictable network traffic such as video can put SLAs (service-level agreements) and mission-critical workloads in danger. Protect mission-critical workloads from performance degradation by isolating new rollouts. This way you can test the performance of applications that are new to your cloud without jeopardizing mission-critical workloads. You can add more applications to this environment over time, once you have a performance baseline.

Issue: Licensing that isn't designed for the cloud.
Strategy: Delay deployment or isolate to one physical server.

Not every application is built for the cloud; applications that require dedicated hardware are usually licensed by the number of physical servers used. Many software vendors have been slow to modify their licensing to make it affordable to run in the cloud, where multiple physical servers share the workload of many virtual machines. Moving these applications to the cloud can turn out to be costly. To avoid a costly licensing hike, identify cloud-unfriendly licenses early on in your planning. Talk to vendors to see if they will renegotiate your license terms. If not, you'll have two options. First, it may make sense to defer cloud deployment for these applications, concentrating instead on software that works well atop an abstracted middleware layer or that observes dynamic resource consumption patterns. Alternatively, you can attempt to isolate the workload, dedicating the specific VMs (virtual machines) on one physical server to the application.

Clearing the Haze
Greater collaboration is a huge gift to your workers. Greater security and control over your applications are key for IT. A private cloud aligns these objectives together, making it possible for you to scale back SaaS use and still deliver the services your employees need to innovate and succeed. While provisioning a private cloud is not always simple, the challenges are predictable. With the proper attention and planning you can flag your trouble areas early, and get down to the business of delivering efficient, affordable collaboration and other software services to your eager workforce.

More Stories By Paiman Nodoushani

Paiman Nodoushani is Senior Director for Cloud Strategy and Products at Avaya, a global provider of next-generation business collaboration and communications solutions, providing unified communications, real-time video collaboration, contact center, networking and related services to companies of all sizes around the world.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. Migration to cloud shifts computing resources from your data center, which can yield significant advantages provided that the cloud vendor an offer enterprise-grade quality for your application.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends an...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driv...
Achim Weiss is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ProfitBricks. In 1995, he broke off his studies to co-found the web hosting company "Schlund+Partner." The company "Schlund+Partner" later became the 1&1 web hosting product line. From 1995 to 2008, he was the technical director for several important projects: the largest web hosting platform in the world, the second largest DSL platform, a video on-demand delivery network, the largest eMail backend in Europe, and a universal billing syste...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change. Renowned for its approach to leadership and emphasis on their people, organizations increasingly look to our military for insight into these challenges.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Key Information Systems, Inc. (KeyInfo), a leading cloud and infrastructure provider offering integrated solutions to enterprises, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Key Information Systems is a leading regional systems integrator with world-class compute, storage and networking solutions and professional services for the most advanced softwa...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bryan Forrester, Senior Vice President of Sales at eFolder, will present how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He will also demonstrate how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll sha...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes –...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.