Don't Buy New Infrastructure: Leverage Existing Investments to Build Your Private Cloud

Sponsored by: Symantec, Laura DuBois Eric Sheppard, September 2011


Successful and competitive firms are developing and implementing cloud IT strategies to achieve two objectives — cost containment and business agility. The deployment of a private cloud offers these benefits while also mitigating the security and control risks of public clouds. Among large enterprises, leading inhibitors to private cloud deployment are the size and adequacy of existing infrastructure and limited IT budget for making major infrastructure changes. With suppliers offering private cloud solutions, many firms overlook the opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure investments to build their private cloud.

Symantec is a leading IT supplier enabling IT organizations to leverage and transform existing infrastructure into private clouds. The value in this approach is gaining resilient business services, optimizing existing storage investments, and ultimately running IT as a service.


According to IDC research, the two most significant benefits of IT cloud services are costeffectiveness and the speed of application deployment. This highlights the challenges that IT organizations face, containing the costs of running existing operations while being highly responsive to the business by standing up new applications and systems. The ability of IT to respond quickly to business demands becomes a necessity for the firm to remain competitive or to gain a competitive advantage.

However, other benefits of cloud services include elastic or utility infrastructure, standardization on service delivery, and offering self-service portals. These characteristics aid in responsiveness while reducing administration costs. Elastic or utility infrastructure is a means of providing cost efficiency and service automation, and service portals are a means of ensuring faster time to application deployment while ensuring business needs/SLAs are met.

C l o u d D e p l o y m e n t M o d e l s

Three overarching cloud deployment models (public, private, and hybrid) are being considered today. Each of these deployment models shares common attributes such as shared infrastructure, multitenancy, Web services, elastic scale-up/scale-down capabilities, metering, pay for only what you need, and self-service. The distinctions between them are as follows:

  • A public cloud is designed for a marketplace or community, is provided over the Internet, and can serve consumer or commercial markets. A public cloud is not designed or used for a single enterprise and is open to a largely unrestricted universe of potential users.
  • A private cloud is designed for and accessed by a single enterprise. A private cloud is behind a corporate firewall, and central IT is the service provider. Shared infrastructure is leveraged across departments internally with the objective of standardizing IT services, which can be offered internally.
  • A hybrid cloud is a blend of two or more clouds. Examples of a hybrid cloud include cloud bursting for capacity or performance or online backup where data is local and in the cloud.


IDC research suggests that larger organizations and enterprises are considering and deploying private clouds. A private cloud tends to imply that infrastructure remains on premises within a firm's datacenter and behind its corporate firewall. This isn't always the case, however. A private cloud implies that the organization has deployed a set of technologies and, more importantly, that this technology is integrated in a manner to automate the provisioning of IT services across the application and infrastructure stacks that ultimately tie to and enable a business service.

Server virtualization is seen as a core component of a private cloud deployment. The difference between a virtualized datacenter and a private cloud is often misunderstood. Making this distinction is important. Many datacenters' and computer rooms' physical servers are virtualized today. But virtualizing server compute (and, increasingly, desktops) does not by default mean that the firm has deployed a private cloud. For one thing, this overlooks storage-centric clouds used for backup, disaster recovery, and long-term data storage.

P r i v a t e C l o u d F e a t u r e s

A private cloud requires a more extensive deployment of technology and, more importantly, technology integration (often referred to as converged IT infrastructure). Even converged IT infrastructure isn't the whole of a private cloud deployment, however. Components of a true private cloud involve virtualized compute and storage resources; provisioning functions from the application to the physical resources including pooled capacity; service catalogs to expose IT services; SLA management, availability, and monitoring; systems and resource management across the infrastructure stack, and so forth.

Drivers for Implementing Private Clouds

The net-net is that private cloud deployments today are being driven at once by cost containment and better support of the business with more agile IT. Firms' motivations for deploying private cloud are varied; however, increased asset utilization and operational efficiency are leading drivers. Suppliers need to boost the efficiency gains and the benefit to capital and operational spending over further-reaching benefits such as improved provisioning times and running IT as a service (although these are by-products of private cloud). IDC research indicates that the deployment of private clouds serves to enable firms to:

  • Standardize IT processes
  • Increase asset utilization
  • Speed delivery of new applications to the business
  • Accelerate business innovation
  • Provide IT support for new applications
  • Offer service-level enhancements

P r i v a t e   C l o u d   I n h i b i t o r s

Among enterprises, leading inhibitors to private cloud deployment include the size and adequacy of existing infrastructure and limited IT budget for making major infrastructure changes. As a result, suppliers are focusing on new application deployments, highlighting the budget relief and improved value (services, response times, operational gains, etc.) of private cloud over existing IT infrastructure, and introducing solutions that allow for incremental infrastructure conversion. However, firms are overlooking the opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure and investments to build their private cloud.

L e a d i n g   W o r k l o a d s   f o r   P r i v a t e   C l o u d

The leading workloads for private cloud deployments are file sharing/collaboration, messaging, and server capacity on demand. Other top use cases for private cloud are storage-related workloads such as backup and storage on demand. However, some emerging markets as well as established organizations are moving to deploy private cloud for net-new business applications.

Indicative of the nascent stage of private cloud adoption and technology integration, firms tend to view the technologies that are critical to the deployment of private cloud first at the physical infrastructure level and then at the logical management level. The majority indicate that server virtualization and storage virtualization are key technologies enabling private cloud; however, service catalogs and orchestration management software are viewed as less critical to deploying a private cloud (although IDC believes they are equally required to achieve a true private cloud). Firms deploying a private cloud will need to choose between commercial packaged private cloud architectures and leveraging existing infrastructure to build a private cloud themselves. Existing infrastructure they can leverage includes shared storage, scale-out file systems, and centralized management suites, as well as physical infrastructure including compute, storage, and network capacity. With either approach, the majority of firms seek to deploy commercial storage, and there is a leading preference for deploying a unified or universal storage architecture (one that supports both block and file protocols).


Symantec, a long-standing market leader in many storage and high-availability markets, has recently launched a new set of solutions that allow firms to build the private cloud they want with the infrastructure they have already invested in. Symantec's view of a private cloud is that it provides characteristics such as pooled and elastic resources to offer resilient, agile, and metered IT services to the business. These characteristics are fairly well understood and accepted. However, what is unique in Symantec's strategy is its value proposition in enabling firms to build private clouds using:

  • Any storage hardware, any operating system, and any virtualization technology, avoiding lock-in and investment in a given supplier's hardware or software
  • Symantec's software suites, which layer on top of existing infrastructure investments to provide:
  • Resilient business services with high availability for an entire business service running on physical and virtual systems, not just individual application components
  • Resilient and optimized storage leveraging deduplication, thin provisioning, thin reclamation, and compression
  • Deep intelligence on the infrastructure, which can be acted upon through policy-based automation

R e s i l i e n t   B u s i n e s s   S e r v i c e s

A core tenet of a private cloud is running IT as a service and keeping up with changing business requirements. Service-level requirements will become only more stringent, and IT organizations will be measured not on the availability of a particular database but on the service they are providing, often architected as an n-tier application. Symantec's resilient business services deliver holistic business service high availability and disaster recovery across n-tier application architectures such as SAP, SharePoint, and SQL-based Web applications. With Symantec's Veritas Cluster Server and Operations Manager, IT organizations can build "Virtual Business Services," which manage availability services for the client-facing application at large and coordinate and orchestrate the processes for lower-level application dependencies. This in turn provides for availability at the entire business service level rather than just at the component level. The Symantec technology can orchestrate self-recovery of multitiered applications distributed across different operating systems and virtual and physical infrastructure — doing so faster than traditional clustering technology. This allows IT organizations to meet and exceed increasingly more stringent SLAs for availability and recovery.

R e s i l i e n t a n d   O p t i mi z e d   S t o r a g e

All datacenters are facing growth today, and that growth will continue into the foreseeable future. However, resilient and optimized storage architectures enable storage growth or contraction without application disruption. The Veritas Storage Foundation family of products delivers compression, deduplication, and reclamation technologies to reduce the storage footprint and associated costs. Additionally, through its central management console, Veritas Operations Manager, this architecture can automate mundane and routine administrative tasks with prioritybased scheduling of storage operations while building accountability for storage consumption with chargeback and showback reporting. All these optimization services are offered across a range of operating systems, virtual infrastructure, and storage platforms while still being managed from a single pane of glass.

I n f o rma t i o n   t o   A c t i o n

IT organizations are going through a transformation today, and new IT administrative roles such as cloud architects and cloud administrators are forming. With the ongoing evolution of IT roles in the datacenter comes a practical reality that most opex budgets remain flat. The challenge is to improve upon operational processes against growing infrastructure with existing IT personnel. Symantec has taken an approach of improving on operational processes by consolidating information for reporting, remediation, and action. This consolidation of information allows for intelligent analysis and action to be taken. Together, Veritas Operations Manager and Data Insight features such as policy-based management, alerting, templates, and visibility from the application or file properties into the storage allow for improved SLAs, compliance, and IT control.


A key challenge inhibiting the adoption of private clouds is the array of technology that must be integrated to get to a "true" private cloud. Many firms are still virtualizing their compute and storage environments to more effectively provision from pooled resources. However, the private cloud objective of moving to a service catalog–driven self-service model for provisioning of IT services remains a vision for many. Achieving this vision requires the deployment of software tools, including service catalogs, that integrate with the physical and virtual infrastructure and enable the provisioning and running of IT as a service. Most firms have not yet taken these steps. The final step is providing a service portal whereby different organizations within an enterprise can request new IT services. Collectively, as an IT industry, we are still on the pathway to a "true" private cloud.


Symantec's suite of management, availability, and storage offerings allows for existing infrastructure to be transformed to private cloud architectures. The practical reality is that many enterprises have an enormous amount of legacy infrastructure that needs to be supported. This makes the installation of new private cloud technologies more evolutionary than revolutionary. The implementation of private cloud components will be incremental. The buildout of new, next-generation datacenters presents an opportunity to start to lay down private cloud infrastructure more from the ground up. Thus, private cloud technology deployment will be a balancing act between supporting existing infrastructure and moving to deploy infrastructure that enables the IT organization to run IT as a service. Symantec is well positioned to help firms take that evolutionary step forward to private clouds.

C o p y r i g h t   N o t i c e

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