At this point in time, it’s an undeniable fact that the cloud is here to stay. However, because of concerns over costs, security, regulations and more, moving to the cloud can be challenging; so for that reason and others, it may not be for everyone. One way around these challenges is to consider building a private cloud for your business. While some security risks might still exist when compared to a traditional on-premise solution, the biggest risk of a shared third-party accessing your businesses sensitive information is greatly reduced with private cloud. Contrary to popular belief, while at first glance it may seem like implementing a private cloud will be extremely expensive, it is more affordable than you think.

To first tackle the project, you need to understand what makes a cloud a cloud. Vendors tout the benefits of their cloud offerings as helping take you to market faster, simplifying your operations, saving you money, and providing employees quick and easy access to important information and applications.

You’re interested, you see benefits, but you may be asking, “Will my current environment support private cloud or will I need additional hardware or software to get started?”

Rest assured, your existing hardware will support private cloud in one form or another. Chances are you’re already running some sort of server virtualization, which is a big first step. However, for those who haven’t implemented server virtualization, there are private cloud solutions supporting Bare Metal Provisioning, such as OpenStack Ironic. So virtualized or not, your existing hardware is all you need to get started.

Next you will need to decide which cloud software will work for you. Beginners should take a serious look at the previously mentioned OpenStack suite. It is a cost-efficient, massively scalable public cloud platform that is especially effective if you need a more personalized implementation and complete control from the ground up. It is an open-source software available to all, which provides source code that anyone can view, change, and enhance to their specific needs. But don’t let that worry you; OpenStack touts that over 50% of America’s Fortune 100 companies use OpenStack software in some way, from test/development to full blown production. That percentage has continued to grow each year.

If you’re already running VMware, check out vRealize Automation (vRA7). If you want some help, there are a number of companies to help you get started. A good safe place to start is DevTest … trust me, your developers will probably thank you for it as it may also allow them to stop paying for AWS services. Once you’ve mastered that environment, you can create private cloud services that include production as you move along application by application until you have a fully functioning private cloud and an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment.

Just about any private cloud implementation will include the ability to provision public cloud services as well. This is called hybrid cloud. At certain times, you may run out of computing power because of seasonal demands, but typically, buying additional servers that would otherwise stay idle throughout the rest of the year doesn’t make sense. You can provision public cloud computing to meet your needs and avoid the capital expense of a hardware purchase.

Now that you’ve made your hardware and software infrastructure decisions, you will want to start by providing cloud functionality to your test and development environment. Again, in order to do this, you need to already be running a virtualized environment; whether it be VMWare, Hyper-V, KVM, etc. Doing this will serve as your base for software defined computing resources. Keep in mind that you will also have to provision your network and storage resources as well. This complete package is usually referred to as a Software Defined Data Center (SDDS).

You’re now ready to hit the private cloud “Easy” button. VMWare is easy to set up through their vRealize suite centered on vRealize Automation. The suite provides most of the functionality needed to implement your private cloud, including charge back/show back tracking and billing, management of all your virtual third party machines, log management, provisioning and automation of your private cloud resources, and most importantly, an easy to use web-based dashboard for self-provisioning of desired services.

In closing, building your own private cloud is a great way to give cloud storage capabilities to select departments or individuals in your business and save money by not paying high fees to one of the big cloud service providers. If you don’t have the hardware assets in place you need to make it happen, Reliant Technology can help. Our storage experts will work with you on figuring out what you need and customizing a configuration and quote for you at the best prices in the industry. Get started by clicking here or calling 877-227-0828.