Private Clouds on the Horizon

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Cloud computing offers a number of benefits. It provides, for example, the ability to tap IT capabilities as flexible services that can be changed as quickly as the business changes.

Private clouds provide many of the benefits of cloud computing but are deployed behind the corporate firewall. They eliminate security concerns around public clouds and ensure that the company retains full control. In one Gartner survey, 43 percent of respondents increased private cloud spending. Private clouds, however, need to be tightly managed.

Cloud computing represents the convergence of several IT trends: virtualization, distributed application design, grid, and enterprise IT management, explains Elber Ribeiro, Director of Global IT Outsourcing at CPM Braxis Capgemini, a leading remote infrastructure management outsourcing firm. Business executives like the idea of private clouds but often miss the critical IT management aspect.

In the private cloud, IT capabilities, applications, and data are delivered over the internal network as services. The IT services and the corresponding IT resources can be allocated, provisioned, and configured fast -- in minutes or hours rather than in days or weeks. This makes private clouds particularly responsive to changes in the business.

The cloud masks the underlying complexity of IT, not eliminates it. Private clouds are more demanding from an IT management perspective as more users turn to it to do more things. For that reason, private clouds need more and better management, not less.

If anything, a private cloud will stress the organization's IT management as never before. Due to the ease of accessibility and configurability, workers will use more and different IT services in more ways and more often. Since it will be easier and cheaper to provision virtual servers, business units will ask for more as they respond to changing opportunities.

The same goes for security. With more users doing more and different things, organizations must be particularly vigilant in monitoring what is happening to ensure that users are doing only what they are authorized to do.

These increased management and security challenges alone are enough to lead organizations to opt for some form of expert remote infrastructure management outsourcing (RIMO). Unlike traditional IT outsourcing, RIMO does not entail the transfer of an enterprise's assets or personnel to the outsourcing provider. Instead, the organization contracts for the provider to continuously monitor its systems, identify potential problems, handle configuration, and remediate and resolve events in real time from a remote location.

The same offshore India-based outsourcing companies also do RIMO. For many organizations, RIMO turns out to be a cost-effective way to transition to a private cloud and improve IT management without having to hire on-site staff.

CPM Braxis Capgemini offers a Brazilian near-shore RIMO alternative for North American companies rather than the far-shore options in India. Its near-shore RIMO model has the benefit of being closer by many time zones, having better cultural affinity, yet being competitive in price. Due to its recent acquisition by Capgemini, it will likely offer an onshore RIMO option, too.

It's easy to get caught up in the business possibilities of a private cloud; just don't ignore infrastructure management. ###

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