Private Cloud Usage Accounting: Don't Bite Off More than You Can Chew!
September 13, 2012
As a parent, you sit your child down at dinnertime and tell them to eat everything that’s on their plate. You don’t want them to scarf it down, however, by eating too much at once or not enough at all; rather, you want them to pace themselves to stay healthy and happy. You may not see how this can relate to private cloud usage, but I assure you, it does.
“Trying to bite off too much at a time is unwise. Private clouds are no different in this regard,” says Rob Clyde, CEO of Adaptive Computing. “However, you have to be careful about how you phase the implementation. While one path is proven to work, the other is destined to fail.”
With over 25 years of experience as an enterprise software executive from startup to larger enterprises, Clyde is clearly a seasoned and experienced figure in the space. He examines for us the importance of usage accounting in private-cloud implementations in this Enterprise Systems article, where he begins by detailing whether to phase your implementation horizontally or vertically.
Private cloud consists of many layers, including provisioning, service catalog, monitoring, account and optimization. Using a horizontal approach, one or two of the private cloud layers are deployed to multiple groups. In a nutshell, by working on the horizontal dimension, the end goal is to have all groups have all the private cloud layers, as depicted below:
So why doesn’t the horizontal approach work, then? “The answers lie in economics and human behavior,” Clyde reveals, adding that such things as monitoring, accounting and optimization are key to achieving a position return on investment (ROI). This will be elaborated on further in the “Part 2” series of this article.
“Pay-per-use accounting is key to private cloud systems,” says Clyde. “If you deploy automated provisioning and self service without accounting, users will inevitably waste resources.” The private cloud simplifies provisioning services for IT, as opposed to having to waste significant time and money on purchasing, installation and provisioning. Why not ditch this inconvenience when users can now automatically provision a virtual server from the private cloud in a matter of minutes with just a few clicks of their mouse?
Clyde further stresses the importance of accounting, saying, “Without any accounting, there is no incentive to be act responsibly. Resources are over-provisioned and then left running long after they are no longer needed because there is no incentive to turn them off.”
The private cloud usually quickly runs out of resources, and when it does, the IT department is faced with two decisions; purchase more resources, which are usually expensive, or deny new service requests. “Denying service requests is a good way to draw negative attention to your shiny new private cloud,” Clyde advises.
So for all of you who are bad at taking hints, here’s the message loud and clear: Don’t deploy a private cloud without usage accounting.
“When users are charged for the resources they use, they are more careful and responsible. Users think twice about what resources they really need, and virtual machines are more likely to be turned off when they are no longer needed,” he explains. “When users pay for the services they consume, necessary funds become available to maintain and grow the private cloud. This path is proven to work in many real-world deployments.”
Stay tuned for a second part to this series, where Clyde will explore the importance of policy-based optimization and why it’s absolutely necessary when deploying a private cloud.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli