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Baylor College of Medicine: Private Cloud Doesn’t Have to be Difficult

Baylor College of Medicine has addressed shadow IT by giving users a better alternative than public cloud. The private cloud solution delivers both speed and control, and is extendable to hybrid. But is wasn’t a massive undertaking. 

I’m not going to repeat today’s press release, but wanted to add some color to this great customer success story.

The Basic Story

At the Baylor College of Medicine, central IT supports 90 research teams across the University. Users, in this case researchers with compute and storage hungry applications for big data computations, visualizations and complex algorithms, were going around IT to utilize compute resources in public cloud.

Alexander Izaguirre, vice president and CTO of Information Technology at the College of Medicine led changes to both meet users needs and to ensure that all college of medicine work met strict regulatory requirements

The team deployed a private cloud solution with CliQr CloudCenter to automate self-service on-demand provisioning of application stacks, and gave researchers a better alternative than public cloud. They added CliQr to an existing IT environment that is orchestrated by Cisco UCS Director and included VMware vSphere for compute virtualization.

Successful deployment in days

I don’t want to downplay the real work done by a small team of sharp technical specialists on this project. This isn’t a unicorn and pixie dust cloud story. But it is also not an 8 week to 12 week project executed by a large team of senior engineers.

The deployment of CliQr CloudCenter and integration with UCSD required a few days worth of work. CliQr calls UCSD workflows that deploy storage and vSphere virtual machines. After resources are deployed, additional UCSD workflows ensure storage deployments are set up to meet strict regulatory requirements.

The Baylor team identified several feature enhancements that have been included in the latest release of CloudCenter. And some additional orchestration enhancements are still being worked out.

More Better Cloud

One way to look at Baylor College of Medicine success is they shut down shadow IT activities that put the university at risk. But the story is really about IT offering a better service to users.

Mostly – people that work around IT to utilize public cloud don’t want raw resources. They usually add middleware. Or install development tools. Or in the case of university researchers, a range of research oriented applications.   And they are often surprised at the amount of support and ongoing management that is required. And often need integration with other on-premises systems. They want speed. But they don’t want the work of supporting their application stack in a public cloud.

So IT, acting as an internal cloud service provider has an “in house” advantage. They can talk to users and ask them what they need. What type of middleware? What applications do they need on top of the compute resources?

IT can deliver a cloud service better than public cloud providers because they can add the apps on top that users need to do their work. They can customize services on a foundation of highly standardized resources.

That is what Baylor IT did. They offered a value added cloud service.  They started by offering storage and compute resources on demand as a replacement for similar public cloud resources. But they are expanding the portfolio of services to include full app stacks that meet the needs of a wider range of users. And as their on demand self-service provisioning footprint grows, Baylor IT can use CliQr to provision applications to public cloud if needed.

The “Ah Ha” Moment

I’ve been involved with private cloud deployments since I co-authored a book on the subject in 2011. And it seems that private cloud deployments have developed a reputation of being harder to deploy than expected, and not delivering expected benefits.

Reputations are earned. Some cloud management platforms are little more than a library of scripts that professional services teams copy and customize for each deployment. Want to add a cloud? Reach for the library of scripts. Others are a complex patchwork of various tools that weren’t originally designed to manage multiple cloud environments.   They are hard to deploy, and hard to use. So perhaps I’ve come to expect hard, long, expensive private cloud deployments as the norm.

But that is not the case with CliQr CloudCenter.

Prospects who have deployed or used other cloud management solutions and realize “It just shouldn’t be this difficult” often have an “Ah Ha” moment part way through a CliQr demo. I’ve heard “It’s so simple” and “This is really comprehensive” from the same person during a demo.

Great addition to Cisco UCS Director

So if you are a Cisco UCS Director customer, as part of VCE Vblock or NetApp Flexpod, you can add self-service on demand app stack deployment to your on-premises infrastructure. Without extensive scripting. Without launching a large professional services make work project.

And you can use the same CliQr solution to extend your Cisco UCSD solution to hybrid cloud.

Request a CliQr demo and experience an “Ah Ha” moment for yourself.

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