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How is private cloud support divided between IT and providers?

When companies choose a private cloud storage provider, it's important that they understand what the internal IT department is responsible for, as opposed to what the provider will support.

When an organization chooses a cloud provider, it's important to consider the ramifications of multi-tenancy, as well as how much private cloud support the provider will supply.

Historically, the IT department has had complete authority over the hardware, software and configurations within an organization. In a private cloud environment, IT maintains some authority, but to a much lesser extent.

Many companies that choose not to build their own private cloud environments on premises end up using a private cloud provider. But that infrastructure is usually multi-tenant, and each tenant takes on the role of an administrator within their designated virtual space.

The role of internal IT

This raises the question of the IT department's role in a private cloud environment. The IT department is responsible for securing and maintaining what the users in their company host in the private cloud infrastructure. Beyond that, however, things can become a little bit less clear.

The provider must establish a private cloud support policy that clearly defines its roles and responsibilities, as well as the responsibilities of the tenants. Suppose, for example, a tenant deploys a SharePoint server, and then needs help with the configuration process. Is the provider responsible for delivering technical support for a workload it did not deploy or configure? In such a situation, the private cloud provider might decide to help the tenant, but there must be a firm private cloud support policy in place to set expectations for and protect the IT department.

Another aspect that private cloud customers must consider is whether the provider will back up tenant resources. In some cases, the provider performs hypervisor-level backups that protect the entire private cloud infrastructure. Other private cloud providers set up ethical firewalls that prevent the provider from accessing tenant resources, even for the purposes of data protection. Regardless of whether or not the provider commits to protecting tenant resources as part of its private cloud support agreement, tenants must be made aware of the data protection policy.

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This was last published in June 2017

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