Cloud: Start Thinking IT Service Delivery…

Cloud: Start Thinking IT Service Delivery…

Cloud: Start Thinking IT Service Delivery…

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.

The first thing you have to do is basically unlearn everything you know about operating your datacenter…ha ha, OK, not exactly everything, but there’s a lot that goes on in your datacenter now that is irrelevant and inadequate for operating a cloud infrastructure.  The whole idea of people doing “stuff” (i.e. provisioning servers, configuring switches, carving up storage, etc.) has to be completely rethought because in a cloud infrastructure, you rely on the systems for doing those things.  In a cloud infrastructure, you are basically decoupling the business benefit of your compute assets (storage, servers, networks, etc.) from the management and operation of those assets so that you can individually optimize each.  You have the freedom to focus on the business aspects versus the technology or, vice versa, the technology over the business aspects.

How this is done is by the extensive use of automation and orchestration of commodity IT functions (i.e. The “stuff” mentioned above) directly integrated to change and configuration management systems that are governed by rules and policies set by you and the business.  The face of these aggregated systems, the cloud infrastructure, is a self-service portal with a catalog of options that you allow users to choose from (based on their role and responsibility within the organization).  You can also see, from a single pane of glass (i.e. a dedicated program or web page), the entire operation of the infrastructure including performance metrics, problem areas and alerts, usage and utilization as well as the ongoing costs of all of the services being delivered…

…and that’s the point right there: once you decouple the business benefit from the operation and management of your technology, you are essentially delivering IT services to the business in the form of well-defined business benefits.  An example of a business benefit is the delivery of a set of provisioned servers (database, app and web servers), in a very specific configuration, with an explicit set of software development tools installed with a certain amount of dedicated storage and network bandwidth…all at the simple and direct request of a user, without involving IT personnel.  And…maybe 90 days later…the user is emailed a request to verify that the server is still in use and, if not, permission to decommission it and return all of the resources it was using back to the specific pools of resources where they came from.

Yes, it is that simple but, creating, managing and ultimately delivering that type of capability isn’t easy at all, it takes a lot of upfront work to get right which is why you have to stop thinking about your datacenter the way you do now and start thinking about being a service provider.  The basic process is that you need to look at the things your business (your consumers) want to buy from you (more on that in a bit); analyze all of the many processes, the people involved and the tools and resources you will use to provide that thing; translate all of that into an automated process (a workflow) that will be carried out by your systems (and test and QA those workflows); and then add that menu item to the list on the self-service portal that you present to your “consumers” who can then use that process over and over again.  And, with respect to your consumers buying from you, because you have direct visibility into all of the various processes involved and completely understand the usage and utilization of all of the supporting resources—CPU, memory, storage, networks, licenses, etc.-you can associate a cost to every service you deliver…both the start-up and the ongoing monthly costs…very easily.

As you can see, this is much, much different than filling out that form for requesting hardware from management; waiting for approval; sending hardware specifications to procurement; waiting for approval; waiting several weeks to several months for delivery; racking and stacking the hardware; waiting for approval from Security to plug into the network; plugging into various switches and networks; using many different interfaces (to storage, to core switching, to virtual infrastructure, etc.) to configure the hardware; using another completely different set of interfaces to load system images, software stacks, etc.; and following various procedures found in different places managed by different divisions.  And, after all that work, you only know what the hardware and labor originally cost to buy and setup; you have few options for figuring out what a monthly cost might be (so you don’t bother) so your consumers never know the true cost and subsequently over-provision.

So, as you can hopefully see, the systems that have grown up around, and been optimized for, managing the processes used in traditional datacenters (as just noted) are completely inadequate for managing the processes used in a cloud infrastructure because you are delivering IT services which have distinct and explicit requirements that just do not exist in current systems.

By Trevor Williamson

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

What Futuristic Tech Will You See In Your Lifetime?

What Futuristic Tech Will You See In Your Lifetime?

Futuristic Tech The world and what people can do is increasingly being driven by technology. It has already shaped the world we live in, but over the next few decades it is set to shape the world in ways that we can barely imagine. There have already been some great leaps in IoT technology recently,…

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Hiding Spots

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Hiding Spots

By David Fletcher Please feel free to share our comics via social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest. Clear attribution (Twitter example: via@cloudtweaks) to our original comic sources is greatly appreciated.

Recent Articles - Posted by
Fintech Exploiting AI and Blockchain Technology

Fintech Exploiting AI and Blockchain Technology

AI and Blockchain Technology The field of artificial intelligence (AI) had progressed rapidly in the last ten years, though first recognized in the 1950s. From autonomous motor vehicles to digital personal assistants, the technology is making its way into a variety of industries, enabling better task automation, language processing, and data analytics. But more recently,…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

Utilizing Digital Marketing Techniques Via The Cloud

Utilizing Digital Marketing Techniques Via The Cloud

Digital Marketing Trends In the past, trends in the exceptionally fast-paced digital marketing arena have been quickly adopted or abandoned, keeping marketers and consumers on their toes. 2016 promises a similarly expeditious temperament, with a few new digital marketing offerings taking center stage. According to Gartner’s recent research into Digital Marketing Hubs, brands plan to…

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Cloud Infographic – The Data Scientist

Data Scientist Report The amount of data in our world has been exploding in recent years. Managing big data has become an integral part of many businesses, generating billions of dollars of competitive innovations, productivity and job growth. Forecasting where the big data industry is going has become vital to corporate strategy. Enter the Data…

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus Shadow IT, a phenomenon defined as building internal IT systems without the official organizational approval has been a growing concern for CIOs over the last few years. In 2015, it climbed to the top of the list of the emerging IT threats, with as much as 83% CIOs reporting…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring

Internet Of Things – Industrial Robots And Virtual Monitoring One of the hottest topics in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the Internet of Things (IOT). According to the report of International Telecommunication Union (2012), “the Internet of things can be perceived as a vision with technological and societal implications. It is considered as a…