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5 steps to a secure, multitenant private cloud

As agencies and municipalities turn to “converged infrastructure” technology to consolidate and unify data centers and to build private clouds, Cisco has a five-step plan that might make the migration easier, according to Dan Kent, director of solutions and CTO of Cisco U.S. Federal. 

Converged or integrated data center infrastructures consist of blade servers, networking, storage, virtualization technology and automation tools unified on a single architecture.

Cisco’s five-step plan, with related examples of how agencies or programs are working toward those goals includes:

1. Build an inventory of IT assets and then consolidate resources.
Example: The Census Bureau outlined its progress toward consolidation in May 2011.

2. Start to virtualize applications and systems.  Determine which applications can be virtualized. For those that can’t, evaluate whether they should stay on their own hardware platforms.
Example: The Defense Department is taking a virtualized approach to medical applications.

3. Consolidate even more assets, specifically around servers and networks.
Example: The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative is integrating with PortfolioStat, a program to examine an agency’s entire IT portfolio and eliminate duplicative IT services.

4. Automate processes. Developing standard processes is probably the hardest step. Work processes for all systems should be mapped into an automated software configuration tool so that each  Microsoft Exchange Server set up, for example is not customized.  
Example: Michigan standardized its messaging and file transfers as part of its ongoing consolidation.

5.  Building the private cloud is the final stage, and the converged infrastructure becomes an underlying, critical element to that private cloud.
Example: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention built a private R&D cloud to give researchers a virtual software lab to test software, analyze technologies and get feedback on Web development.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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