Five tips to heed when moving from virtualization to cloud computing

Moving from virtualization to cloud computing seems like the next logical step, but it isn't easy. If you're ready, these five tips can help.

Moving from virtualization to cloud computing is a big step that few organizations are ready to make. However, more organizations are considering a private cloud as virtualization deployments mature and managers look for ways to make IT more efficient and responsive to business needs. But, a private cloud may not be right for everyone. First, take the time to learn how a private cloud is different from virtualization. Then, if you're ready to move from virtualization to cloud computing, these five quick links can help get you on the right track to planning your private cloud deployment.

When do you need a private cloud?
The first step in a move from virtualization to cloud computing is realistically evaluating whether you need a private cloud at all. A private cloud can offer some businesses enhanced flexibility and resource tracking, but this model isn't for everyone. Maybe upper management is pushing for it, but are you sure you even need a private cloud?

Capacity planning strategies for private clouds
A private cloud is not a set-it-and-forget it proposition. Making sure your private cloud remains cost-effective means continuing performance monitoring and capacity planning. Without right-sizing VMs and failing to track and anticipate resource needs, your private cloud will falter.

Implementing chargeback
Chargeback is one of the most difficult and misunderstood aspects of a private cloud, but it can also be one of the most useful tools for preventing sprawl and resource overconsumption. To begin, determine how you will calculate chargeback and how it will apply to storage in your private cloud.

Control hypervisor costs
Hypervisor licensing costs can make up a significant portion of your private cloud costs. Consider a low-cost hypervisor or using multiple hypervisors to help bring costs down. Don't buy more hypervisor licenses than you need upfront -- you can always add more later. The exception to this rule is if you expect significant growth, in which case a volume license discount may be more economical in the long run.

Choosing low-cost software to keep costs down
The other side of the financial equation is cloud management software. Start by evaluating the features of several products and their compatibility with your current infrastructure. Using open source software may help you cut costs; or, you can keep an eye out for deals on hypervisors and management tool bundles.

This was first published in January 2014

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