Enterprise cloud migration can pay significant dividends in the form of data centers that are optimized for cost and space usage, and it can also enhance an organization's ability to deploy applications via SaaS and store company information at scale. When deploying private clouds, however, there are key steps to follow to ensure that they are implemented securely and smoothly.

Many enterprises have taken the opportunity to move past virtualization and set up private clouds that perform a variety of essential tasks like storage provisioning, OS management and application hosting. To access this full range of functionalities, InformationWeek contributor and cloud expert Jim Ditmore recommended that businesses diligently move to architect private IT infrastructures, being careful along the way to minimize custom configurations and procure well-negotiated SaaS contracts that do not lock them into a single provider.

With a reliable IaaS cloud in place, enterprises can begin testing a broader range of software and server processes with greater agility than they would get from on-site infrastructure. As an added benefit, IT savings could reach 50 percent, according to Ditmore, since private clouds are efficient and require less overhead and human management.

Challenges to setting up a private cloud
When establishing a private cloud, companies must set up effective testing and documentation procedures that can guide the gradual migration of server workloads from on-site hardware to private environments. Knowing the exact business use case for a private cloud deployment before selecting a cloud service provider also makes the entire move easier, suggested InfoWorld's David Linthicum.

"There are companies that succeed with cloud computing strategies and first-generation implementations," wrote Linthicum. "They typically have a few core characteristics, including the willingness to spend the necessary time for planning, the use of their best and the brightest, and being unafraid to make mistakes."

Rather that focus on macro theoretical debates about the relative merits of open and closed clouds, businesses may be better off considering what type of infrastructure can best serve their security and provisioning needs, for example. Linthicum argued that some organizations are overly fixated on security and may spend beyond their means as a result, but this could be a feasible approach for organizations needing to build out applications that handle sensitive information.

In regard to expenses, IT departments can set up verification procedures that judge the cost-effectiveness of each deployment compared to its on-site predecessor or equivalent. Ditmore asserted that it may be ideal to begin building private infrastructure after a company's legacy systems have been pushed to their limits by new application releases or aging servers.