Once you’ve identified business needs and objectives, you need to understand fully the capabilities, limitations, and complexities of your current IT environment, which starts by performing an analysis of your technical and organizational maturity against
the backdrop of the different capabilities of cloud computing. The next step is then to determine where you want to take your organization, assessing the prerequisites for the desired objective.
This process of change we describe in the Core IO Maturity Model – Private Cloud View. It is organized by infrastructure optimization stage (basic, standardized, rationalized, and dynamic), with the details f each stage described using an industry-standard
definitional schema for cloud attributes (self-service, usage-based, service, elastic, pooled resources, and broad network access). As you progress in infrastructural and organizational maturity, your business will benefit from increasingly advanced private
Figure 1. The Core IO Maturity Model - Private Cloud View
Whichever objectives you are aiming to achieve, the important point to bear in mind is that building a private cloud is a process for which there are numerous tactical and strategic considerations, for which the Core IO Maturity Model can provide a useful
framework. A successful implementation hinges on your ability to think through all facets of the undertaking, clearly understanding the dependencies, tradeoffs, limitations, and opportunities of any particular strategy.
The Core IO Maturity Model – Private Cloud View is in some sense a response to an underlying issue that we’ve encountered in our experiences working with large organizations on their cloud deployments. Often, we have found that the ambitions and expectations
that organizations have for a cloud solution are out of line with the realities of the process and its potential outcomes. To help these organizations set more appropriate expectations and frame strategies with realistic and achievable goals, the maturity
model can be very useful. But its lessons must also find their way to the organization as a whole in order to ensure the alignment of business and IT on the goals of the project.
A persistent perception of cloud computing is that it can very rapidly deliver significant return to a business with the potential for a minimum of effort and investment. It’s a common expectation among consumers that the cloud should offer easy-to-implement,
extremely scalable, well performing, and secure solutions. Internet-based email services have benefited consumers for years, and it’s become commonplace for individuals to be able to collaborate, store personal data, or host applications large or small in
the cloud. If consumers can benefit from all these on-demand services, why should it be any different for businesses? Why does it take a week or more to instantiate a new email account within a corporate firewall, when Hotmail or similar services in the cloud—which
cost the consumer little or nothing—can be had almost instantly?
The answer may or may not be self-evident, depending on your point of view:
This misalignment of perceptions and expectations between service providers and service consumers is telling, as it underscores the challenge of cloud adoption for large organizations in particular. Consumers’ personal experience of a public cloud has unfortunately
contributed to the expectation that businesses can leap ahead, potentially in one step, from a traditional IT environment to one that is dynamic, responsive to changing business needs, highly available, and extremely cost-effective.
But the reality for most large organizations is that an incremental strategy is the only realistic path, given the technical and organizational complexity of current IT operations fed by years of layered investments that businesses are justifiably reluctant
to abandon wholesale. And this is one of the key reasons why a private cloud model is proving especially compelling for those who are evaluating their cloud options in the context of enterprise IT: it takes into account existing investments and organizational
aptitudes, permitting incremental approaches to adoption.
Be that as it may, the tension between unrealistic expectations and realities of cloud computing in an enterprise IT context can prove a challenge to resolve. Many IT leaders understand why an incremental approach is needed, but those outside IT—business leaders
in particular—are less clear about the real implications of implementing a cloud solution. A sound strategy for achieving your objectives must also include an appropriate communications strategy for the sake of consistently setting and managing expectations
for the organization as a whole. With the whole organization informed, from the board room to the front office, the hard work of defining and executing on your private cloud strategy is far more likely to achieve its objectives and set your business on the
path to long-term success in the cloud.
For many corporations and government bodies seeking to improve business agility, reduce IT costs, and/or enhance service quality, a private cloud architecture—regardless of the service model—is the best choice. If your organization is evaluating a private cloud
deployment, or even if it has already begun the process, there are many resources and programs available from Microsoft that will help you get and stay on track.