Small and medium enterprises have been looking for ways to efficiently enter the cloud market. Where some organizations haven’t seen the benefits of a public cloud model, many are considering private cloud deployments. The beauty of the cloud is its elasticity and capability to grow with the demands of the business. Unlike larger organizations, SMEs have a set budget and a limited amount of resources. This is why a well-planned deployment can have numerous benefits for companies which need to diversify, become more agile and grow with the market.
At the core of cloud computing is virtualization. Infrastructure efficiency and data center agility build robust virtualization technologies. This means that organizations can scale as needed and still be resilient. In designing a private cloud solution, SMEs should consider the following:
Server virtualization. One of the first steps in creating a cloud solution is to start at the server level. Having dynamic resources available doesn’t only translate to RAM, storage, and CPU. Server virtualization has become an affordable solution for organizations of all sizes. Products from Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere and Citrix Hypervisor all promise to deliver a much more agile computing platform. By virtualization servers, administrators create an easier to manage cloud platform.
Furthermore, with server virtualization, a company can scale their environment as needed. It’s just easier to spin up a new VM as required as opposed to deploying an entirely new physical server. In working with template technologies, administrators can right-click on an existing template or VM and provision more servers. In a cloud environment, managers can dynamically assign more VMs, RAM, or even vCPUs as user demand grows or shrinks.
Application virtualization. A powerful tool of a private cloud platform, beyond server virtualization, is application virtualization. Once the servers are virtualized, applications can be further controlled via virtualization. This will allow for an easier delivery method to remote, onsite and even BYOD users. Authentication and data flow is all controlled at the data center level, and administrators can have clear visibility into the user session. Solutions like those from VMware Horizon and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are all able to securely virtualize and delivery applications over the WAN and LAN as needed. A secure portal can allow users to access assigned applications from personal or corporate devices. In creating a private cloud solution, application virtualization can help with branch offices and even business continuity. From a DR perspective, if something happens with the main site, users can still access their information, applications, and files from remote locations.
User control. Part of any SMB-ready cloud solution has to be a good user management system. The user management system must control profile settings, folder redirection, printers and all of the other necessary user functions. Cloud computing offers a great deal of versatility for an organization – but it is critical to establish control on the delivery mechanism. By having clear visibility into user access, administrators are improving the computing process. Using technologies such as Ivanti (RES Software) to lock down and manage the user environment, engineers can granularly control which devices have what type of access to the workloads. By allowing user settings to follow the user between hardware platforms, operating systems, and even applications, administrators create a happier workforce.
Bandwidth considerations. One significant factor in designing an SMB-cloud-ready solution will be bandwidth. Too often a high platform is put into place without enough thought placed on both WAN and LAN requirements. Virtualization, storage systems, and additional users all place a strain on the environment. In designing a cloud solution, it’s essential to gauge how much bandwidth resources will be required both internally and externally. Latency, poor QoS settings and rapid fluctuations in user count, can all lead to the degraded user experience. Applications, desktops and end-user usage metrics should all be gathered and quantified before any significant project deployment. Collecting these types of parameters will help administrators understand precisely what they will need in terms of bandwidth. From there, solutions like SD-WAN can even further help control WAN costs and contracts. And, it can help with user performance as well.
A private cloud solution can scale as needed. When more users are on the system, administrators can provision more virtual machines to handle the additional user load. There can be numerous different benefits of deploying a private cloud solution. Some of which include:
- Quick access for remote users
- Easy branch office deployments
- More business agility
Before deploying a private cloud, make sure there is a direct business use-case and that the organization’s visions directly align with the goals of the IT department. When deployment and planned out properly, a cloud solution can have some great benefits for SMEs.
For any questions or assistance on how to create, support, and maintain a custom cloud infrastructure for your organization, please contact MTM Technologies.