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By Trevor Williamson, Director, Solutions Architecture A 3-Part Series: Part 1: Understanding the Dilemma Part 2: Planning the Solution Part 3: Executing the Solution, again and again… Part 2: Planning the Solution As I wrote before and continuing with part 2 of this 3-part series, let’s talk about how we plan the solution for automating IT services and service management within your organization so that you can develop, deliver, and support services in a more disciplined way—which means that your customers will trust you. Of course this doesn't mean that they won't pursue outsourced, cloud, or other third-party services—but they will rely on you to get the most out of those services. And once you do go through this process, some of the major benefits for implementing an automated service management infrastructure are:
A 3 Part Series from Trevor Williamson Part 1: Understanding the Dilemma Part 2: Planning the Solution Part 3: Executing the Solution, again and again... Part 1: Understanding the Dilemma IT teams are increasingly being challenged as bring-your-own-technology (BYOD) policies and “as-a-service” software and infrastructure multiply in mainstream organizations. In this new reality, developers still need compute, network and storage to keep up with growth…and workers still need some sort of PC or mobile device to get their jobs done…but they don’t necessarily need corporate IT to give it to them. They can turn to a shadow IT organization using Amazon, Rackspace and Savvis or using SaaS applications or an unmanaged desktop because when all is said and done, if you can’t deliver on what your users and developers care about, they will use whatever and whoever to get their jobs done better, faster and cheaper.
I know what you’re thinking, yet another car analogy, but bear with me, I think you’ll like it…eventually ;) When I was a kid, like around 11 or 12, during the summers I would ride my bike into town to go to the municipal pool to hang out with my friends and basically have fun. On my way to the pool I used to ride past a garage and body shop in my neighborhood and sometimes I would stop to look around. One day I found it had a back lot where there were a bunch of cars parked amongst the weeds, broken concrete and gravel. I don’t remember thinking about why the cars were there except that maybe they were in various states of repair (or disrepair as the case may be…lots of rust, not a lot of intact glass) or that they were just forgotten about and left to slowly disintegrate and return to nature.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that I write a lot about cloud and cloud technologies, specifically around optimizing IT infrastructures and transitioning them from traditional management methodologies and ideals toward dynamic, cloud-based methodologies. Recently, in conversations with customers as well as my colleagues and peers within the industry, it is becoming increasingly clear that the public, at least the subset I deal with, are simply fed up with the massive amount of hype surrounding cloud. Everyone is using that as a selling point and have attached so many different meanings that it has become meaningless…white noise that just hums in the background and adds no value to the conversation. In order to try to cut through that background noise I’m going to cast the conversation in a way that is a lot less buzzy and a little more specific to what people know and are familiar with. Let’s talk about cars (haa ha, again)…and how Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile industry.
Having read JP Rangaswami’s argument against private clouds (and the obvious promoting of his version of cloud) I have only to say that he’s looking for oranges in an apple tree. His entire premise is based on the idea that enterprises are wholly concerned with cost and sharing risk when that can’t be farther from the truth. Yes, cost is indeed a factor as is sharing risk but a bigger and more important factor facing the enterprise today is agility and flexibility…something that monolithic leviathan-like enterprise IT systems of today definitely are not. He then jumps from cost to social enterprise as if there is a causal relationship there when, in fact, they are two separate discussions. I don’t doubt that if you are a consumer (not just customer) facing organization, it’s best to get on that social enterprise bandwagon but if your main concern is how to better equip and provide the environment and tools necessary to innovate within your organization, the whole social thing is a red herring for selling you things that you don’t need.
I read a news release (here) recently where NVidia is proposing to partition processing between on-device and cloud-located graphics hardware…here’s an excerpt:
One of the main requirements of the cloud is that most—if not all—of the commodity IT activities in your data center need to be automated (i.e. translated into a workflow) and then those singular workflows strung together (i.e. orchestrated) into a value chain of events that delivers a business benefit. An example of the orchestration of a series of commodity IT activities is the commissioning of a new composite application (an affinitive collection of assets—virtual machines—that represent web, application and database servers as well as the OSes and software stacks and other infrastructure components required) within the environment. The outcome of this commissioning is a business benefit whereas a developer can now use those assets to create an application for either producing revenue, decreasing costs or for managing existing infrastructure better (the holy trinity of business benefits).
[youtube]http://youtu.be/maFiFYDW0bo[/youtube] Few of our clients understand the difference between operating a cloud infrastructure and operating a traditional datacenter, but it's not that they're dumb; it's just that the whole idea of cloud is new and different. There aren't a lot of fully functioning cloud infrastructures out there so, obviously, there's not a lot of personnel experienced running those infrastructures. With this post I want to explain what it means to run a cloud infrastructure and by that I mean I will explain the difference between what you know now versus what you need to know—and change—later, when you're faced with operating one of those beasts.