Optimising private cloud performance, efficiency & security

With a plethora of cloud solutions on the market and businesses having a unique profile, there is plenty to consider when finding a perfect-fit environment

Despite there being much hype around hybrid cloud - with an increasing amount of businesses migrating to the new wave of computing environment thanks to its advantages being a blend of both that of private and public cloud - there is still much to be said for the benefits of private cloud.

The infrastructure of private cloud provides enhanced security with data stored safely in a dedicated and highly secure environment that can be tailored and configured to meet specific needs, allowing for full control over resources, access and management. And, with sharing resources with other organisations avoided, there is ability to expand if needed and performance and security risks are kept to a minimum.

But with that being said, how can private cloud be optimised to ensure cost efficiency, high performance and mitigate cybersecurity risk?

Private cloud and providing a chance of business success

Private clouds primarily lend themselves best to highly regulated industries, thanks to the keen focus on accelerating application deployment cycles, and improving reliability and availability.

But as Gartner’s Client Director Lori Perry warns: “Leaders must not plan on building a private cloud with the full capabilities of a public cloud. There needs to be a reduction in the complexity of the private cloud project by avoiding advanced features that do not align with the organisation’s strategy or values.” 

And with that more sophisticated models are also emerging, including the likes of managed private clouds - private cloud systems managed by third-party vendors allowing enterprises without large IT departments to benefit from private clouds.

The private cloud is best for highly regulated businesses with large amounts of sensitive data requiring additional security measures to prevent leaks or cyber attacks. However, this all comes at a price, and the total cost of ownership must not be underestimated when IT departments set out to develop a private cloud solution.

Optimising private cloud performance and efficiency

As Tytus Kurek, Product Manager at Canonical, told Data Centre Magazine’s sister title Technology Magazine earlier this year, when it comes to cloud spend specifically, businesses are feeling the pinch. More than half (55%) told a report that they already pay a lot for cloud infrastructure, and more than 80% said they have noticed an increase in their total cost of ownership (TCO) in the past two years alone.

“Since cloud infrastructure usually accounts for a significant portion of organisations’ budgets, cutting unnecessary spendings and optimising cloud resources is essential to drive costs down,” Kurek describes.

He continues to share how, however a company operates, cloud costs can rapidly increase for a multitude of reasons, whether that be over provisioned resources, unneeded capacity, and poor environmental visibility. “As a first step to optimise cloud spending,” he says, “businesses need to understand exactly how much their cloud infrastructure costs. While this may seem obvious, it’s estimated that 20% don’t know exactly what this amounts to.

“Only when a company understands their current spending, can it look to the future and begin budgeting for the coming year. For this reason, many organisations are adopting cloud cost optimisation strategies to have greater control over their cloud infrastructure costs while maximising performance and cloud efficiency.

“Going forward, organisations need to be more aware of how much they are spending on the cloud, but even more so of the ways in which they can cut these costs. By optimising the cloud and utilising tools to strengthen its impact, companies will be able to unlock its full potential and generate growth, whilst saving money - a win-win.”

Oracle Cloud, an industry-leader and one of the largest cloud providers in the world, advises that to build cloud applications that are efficient in terms of performance and cost optimisation, those behind a private cloud environment should ‘architect for efficiency’. This boils down to a simple five-step plan. 

  1. Understand workload
    This is crucial when making design decisions.
  2. Evaluate requirements
    Understand what cloud services best support your architecture and requirements
  3. Become Data-driven
    Today's cloud platforms can provide a large amount of metrics that can be used to drive decisions, and has the capacity provide very detailed insight into performance
  4. Anticipate growth
    Ensure your architecture and selected services will support your business growth
  5. Understand and optimise spending
    The Cloud allows for rapid provisioning of services and having visibility into the associated costs and how to optimise them is important when your workload increases.

Security risks with private cloud

Data breaches, malware infections and insider threats are just some of the leading risks that can be posed to private cloud entities. In a LinkedIn article, Khwaja Shaik, CTO at IBM details: “Each day brings news of more sophisticated attacks, as data theft, downed servers, and ransomware [wreak] havoc on organisations. The sheer volume of the breaches makes us think that these attacks are never going to end. So how do we stop this?”

Shaik outlines five best ways cyber and digital resilience can be enhanced, but notes that although responsibility lies with all involved, “effective digital resilience starts with the board room”.

  1. Understand, measure, and approve risk tolerance
    Stating how risks can come from anywhere, Shaik stresses that understanding is a key to ensure the strongest defences to keep private cloud spaces safe from unwanted external penetration. “Understand risk tolerance,” he advises. “Bring resilience, security, and trust closer.”
  2. Measure the progress, and future-proof the digital resilience through holistic metrics
    Highlighting how you can’t measure a metric you’re not tracking in the first place, Shaik stresses how having a clear understanding of qualitative and quantitative metrics is not enough. Security is not a check box exercise, and should harm come your way, he warns you will not be best poised to protect if there is no understanding. “If you are not asking the right questions, measuring risks consistently, you have no mitigation plans if you ever get attacked,” he says.
  3. Use risk appetite, and business value-driven risk-based digital resilience models
    “The time to move from maturity based security to risk based security has arrived,” he warns. “Provide cybersecurity optimisation oversight as no one has a blank check.” This can be done by developing clear risk escalation triggers to notify of a business resiliency risk event.
  4. Future-proof with industry trends by accelerating the Board, C-suite and ecosystem collaboration
    As private cloud continues to evolve, as do the threats posed to them. Having cybersecurity and business resiliency expertise on the board is a huge plus, Shaik advises, as us ensuring cybersecurity is part of  conversations.
  5. Restructure with the skills for tomorrow
    Managing for digital resilience starts with managing the talent,” he guides. “Infusing the board with the right digital resilience skills is a continuous process.”

Diversity of backgrounds, skill sets and experience will allow an intersection of knowledge and expertise to hit what he calls the “sweet spot” by being savvy with knowledge and gender diversity. 

“Best-in-class cloud governance is all about architectural decisions, agility and competitive advantage,” Shaik concludes. “Cloud governance is a team sport.”

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