Automating the Private Cloud
Major public cloud providers, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Rackspace, have been driving hard toward automation since their services hit the market. The reason is simple: It improves both the bottom line and customer satisfaction. Now, automating an enterprise-class private or hybrid cloud is an entirely different affair from Amazon using its development muscle to let a user spin up an S3 instance. But that doesn't mean you can stay stuck in manual mode, because without automation, you don't have self-service, and self-service is one of the most compelling reasons for a private cloud.
As with most complicated projects, you're better off building in automation from the get-go; retrofitting is more expensive and less effective. So we were somewhat discouraged with the results of our InformationWeek 2012 Private Cloud Survey. The good news is, this technology has reached a tipping point: 51% of 414 respondents are either building private clouds (30%) or have them in place now (21%). But when we asked those in the construction stage about nine critical steps, orchestrating automation across multiple subsystems came in dead last.