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Cloud Computing & ITSM - For Better of for Worse?


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his article explores the question whether the relationship will be “a marriage made in heaven?” It also explores the issue of “who is the bride and who is the groom?” As you read further, you can also decide whether the relationship between Cloud Computing and ITSM is “for better or for worse?”

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Cloud Computing & ITSM - For Better of for Worse?

  1. 1. 1Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”CLOUD COMPUTINGAND ITSM,By Brian BourneCopyright © 2012 ITpreneurs. All Rights Reserved.“For Better or for Worse?”
  2. 2. 2Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”The Bride and GroomI have been fascinated with the future compatibility and potential marriage betweenCloud Computing and IT Service Management (ITSM) for some time now. This articleexplores the question whether the relationship will be “a marriage made in heaven?” It alsoexplores the issue of “who is the bride and who is the groom?” As you read further, you canalso decide whether the relationship between Cloud Computing and ITSM is “for better orfor worse?”However, before we can make any judgements on this, we need to understand thepersonalities of Cloud Computing and ITSM first.Understanding the Cloud Computing PersonalityNote: For those of you already familiar with cloud computing concepts (andits background), you may want to proceed to the section, “A Marriage Madein Heaven.”Cloudcomputinghasevolvedthroughanumberofphasesovertheyearswithitsrootsin grid and utility computing, application service provision (ASP), Software as a Service(SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Believe it ornot, cloud computing goes back to the sixties. The idea of an “intergalactic computernetwork” was introduced by J.C.R. Licklider, who was responsible for enabling thedevelopment of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1969.This sounds like something out of Star Trek!Since the sixties, cloud computing has developed along a number of lines, withWeb 2.0 being the most recent evolution and web 3.0 already appearing on thehorizon. The Internet only started to offer significant bandwidth in the nineties; cloudcomputing for the masses has been something of a late developer. Sorry, guys! Latedeveloper? Could this be the groom? One of the first milestones for cloud computingwas the arrival of in 1999, which pioneered the concept of deliveringenterprise applications via a simple website. The next development was Amazon WebServices in 2002, which provided a suite of cloud-based services including storage,computation and even human intelligence through the Amazon Mechanical Turk.
  3. 3. 3Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”Then in 2006, Amazon launched its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as a commercial webservice that allows small companies and individuals to rent computers on which torun their own computer applications. Another big milestone came in 2009, as Web2.0 hit its stride, and Google and others started to offer browser-based enterpriseapplications through services such as Google Apps. In 2009, we also saw the adventof Microsoft into the cloud computing game with its product Windows Azure.Azure, as an operating environment, was designed to manage extremely large poolsof computational resources. Is cloud computing the bride? Grooms know that theyneed a little help in getting organized. The simple explanation is that Microsoft wantscustomers to run their Windows-based applications over the Internet using Microsoft’sdata centers, with Azure being the system that organizes resources and handles spikesin demand. And now?!Many IT professionals recognize the benefits that computing offers in terms ofincreased storage, flexibility and cost reduction. Cloud computing is the delivery ofcomputing as a service, rather than a product; whereby shared resources, software,and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like theelectricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet). Cloud computing allows theCIO to focus more on the productivity of the applications that the company will needto be successful, as opposed to worrying about the infrastructure to support thoseapplications.( computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization,service-oriented architecture, autonomic, and utility computing. Details are abstractedfrom end-users, who no longer have need for expertise in, or control over, thetechnology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them.
  4. 4. 4Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”Understanding the Cloud Personality(Cloud Computing Layers)Client LayerA cloud client consists of computer hardware and/or computer software thatrelies on cloud computing for application delivery, and which is in essence,useless without it. Examples include (some) computers, phones and other devices,operating systems, and browsers, i.e., phones, tablets, desktops, laptops.Application/SaaS(Software as a Service)Cloud Application Services or SaaS (Software as a Service), deliver software as aservice over the Internet, eliminating the need to install and run the application onthe customer’s own computers, while simplifying maintenance and support.Platform/PaaS(Platform as a Service)CloudPlatformServices,alsoknownasPaaS(PlatformasaService),deliveracomputingplatform and/or solution stack as a service, often consuming cloud infrastructure andsustaining cloud applications. It facilitates deployment of applications without thecost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and softwarelayer.
  5. 5. 5Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”Infrastructure/IaaS(Infrastructure as a Service)Cloud Infrastructure Services, also known as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), delivercomputer infrastructure (typically a platform virtualization environment) as a service,along with raw block storage and networking. Rather than purchasing servers,software, data-center space or network equipment, clients will buy these resourcesas a fully outsourced service instead. Suppliers typically bill such services on a utilitycomputing basis i.e., the amount of resources consumed. Therefore, the cost willtypically reflect the level of activity.ServerThe server layer consists of computer hardware and/or computer software productsthat are specifically designed for the delivery of cloud services, including multi-coreprocessors, cloud-specific operating systems and combined offerings.
  6. 6. 6Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”Understanding Cloud ComputingDeploymentPublic CloudPublic Cloud describes cloud computing in the traditional mainstream sense, wherebyresources are dynamically provisioned to the general public on a fine-grained, self-service basis over the Internet, via web applications/web services from an off-sitethird-party provider, who bills on a fine-grained utility computing basis.Community CloudCommunity Cloud shares infrastructure between several organizations from a specificcommunity with common concerns (security, compliance, jurisdiction, etc.), whethermanaged internally or by a third-party; and hosted internally or externally. The costsare spread over fewer users than a Public Cloud, but more than a private cloud, so onlysome of the benefits of cloud computing are realized.Hybrid CloudHybrid Cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public).The two remain unique entities, but are bound together and offer the benefits ofmultiple deployment models.Private CloudPrivate Cloud is infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whethermanaged internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally.Users still have to buy, build and manage them and, therefore, do not benefit fromlower up-front capital costs and less hands-on management. Essentially, lacking theeconomic model that makes cloud computing such an intriguing concept.
  7. 7. 7Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”Understanding the IT ServiceManagement (ITSM) PersonalityIT Service Management (ITSM) is concerned with delivering and supporting ITservices that are appropriate to the business requirements of the organization. ITSMimproves efficiency and effectiveness and reduces the risks of managing IT services.Is ITSM the bride? Most of the time, my wife tells me how to be more efficient!ITSM is a discipline for managing information technology (IT) systems, philosophicallycentered on the customer’s perspective of IT’s contribution to the business. ITSMstands in deliberate contrast to technology-centered approaches such as the cloud.The following represents a characteristic statement from the ITSM literature: SourceOGC ITIL 2011 Service Strategy:“Providers of IT services can no longer afford to focus on technology (The Cloud?) andtheir internal organization. They must now consider the quality of the services theyprovide and focus on the relationship with customers.”Is this the groom? In most marriages, the groom is responsible for providing theromance in the relationship.ITSM is process-focused, and in this sense has ties and common interestswith process improvement movement, e.g., TQM, Six Sigma, Business ProcessManagement, CMMI, ITIL, COBIT frameworks and methodologies. The disciplineis not concerned with the details of how to use a particular vendor’s product,or necessarily with the technical details of the systems under management.Instead, it focuses upon providing a framework to structure IT-related activitiesand the interactions of IT technical personnel with business customers and users.ITSM is often equated with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, (ITIL) anofficial publication of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom.However, while a version of ITIL is a component of ITSM, ITSM also covers a number ofrelated, yet distinct disciplines, and the two are not synonymous.
  8. 8. 8Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”Cloud Computing and ITSM“A Marriage Made In Heaven”Now that we have met the Cloud Computing and ITSM personalities, we need to seeif they are compatible with each other. Let’s take a look at their relationship and theimpact they have upon each other. Both Cloud Computing and ITSM reduce costsand improve the quality of the following:People / PartnersBy increasing efficiency in resource utilization through process and processes,enabling technology in combination with increased efficiency in resource utilization,organizations can utilize cloud computing resources, instead of their own. This willallow them to take advantage of repositioning internal resources required for otherprojects, or simply look at this as a cost-saving initiative. Both cloud concepts andITSM are greatly concerned with efficiency and effectiveness of their resources. ITIL’sService Strategy Lifecycle and the associated processes: Service Portfolio, DemandManagement and Financial Management, consider utilization from the beginning:–– Possible reduction of the number of operational resources.–– Focus staff on priorities and role definitions.–– Allows for strategic sourcing decisions.Process• Cloud computing and ITSM both emphasize synchronization between, andconsolidation of people, process and technology. ITSM will continue to look tocloud solutions for taking on the cost of ownership for these areas and expect ITService value in return.• Shorten incident resolution time. Cloud computing will take on this initiative thesame way ITSM Internal shops would, using their own Service Desk and IncidentManagement process.• Provide financial IT services information. Over time, the truth of cloudcomputing and its costs, efficiencies and benefits will be held accountable; and
  9. 9. 9Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”ITSM and financial management will be able to discern if cloud computing isfinancially more economical for organizations. Or, ask themselves if organizationsshould take on the financial obligation internally and continue to run their ownIT Shops.• Define business needs in terms of quality, efficiency and effectiveness. This is atthe heart of both cloud computing and ITSM. They both must deliver on theseinitiatives or business will not see or benefit from any value.• Increase speed of service, another shared initiative for cloud computing andITSM.TechnologyITSM, through strategic decisions utilizing ITIL Service Strategy Lifecycle, will lookto the Cloud as a viable option for the following:• Consolidation of technology• Better utilization of assets• Standardization of working environments• Introducing process-enabling technology• Prioritizing effort and cost to service levels• Standardization of working environments• Monitoring and reporting service quality metrics• Automating problem diagnosis and resolutionITSM/ITIL Service Strategy Lifecycle, demand and financial management will considercloudcomputingforbetterefficienciesandeffectiveness,thatwillmeetorganizationalgoals and objectives:• A more agile and responsive IT investment decision making process, integratedwith the business.• Paying for only what you use; a new generation of “service economics.”• Even more rapid, utility-styled request and deployment of information services.• Greater scalability, which links real-time demand and utilization with plannedcapacity. In a Public Cloud delivery model, capital expenditure is converted tooperational expenditure.
  10. 10. 10Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”This is purported to lower barriers to entry, as infrastructure is typically providedby a third-party and does not need to be purchased for one-time or infrequentintensive computing tasks. Pricing on a utility computing basis is fine-grained,with usage-based options, and fewer IT skills are required for implementationin-house.• Scalability and Elasticity via dynamic, on demand provisioning.Is a Prenuptial Required?Some IT professionals do not think their IT Service Management processes are matureenough to effectively manage cloud-based services, and believe their organizationsaren’t ready. While some are unsure. There are some concerns that the relationshipbetween Cloud Computing and ITSM may not be compatible.A global survey was conducted by ITSM provider Axios Systems. The survey revealedthat only eight percent of organizations currently use their ITSM tool to managecloud-based services, while 19% think their current tool could support managementof cloud services (they just haven’t started to do so). Another 31% of IT professionalsindicate that their current ITSM tool would not support the management of cloud-based services. The remaining 42% of respondents are unsure.There are vital ITSM steps to consider when adopting the cloud computing. For one, asolid business case is required. IT organizations with business requirements will needto do their home work to determine the costs and the benefits of adopting cloudcomputing as long-term strategies.If the organization does not have a service catalog, they need to get on with it. Thecatalogwillhelpmanagedemandandperformancebyclearlylistingwhatthebusinesswill get, for how much, based on their requirements. Putting the catalog together is abig undertaking. It is an undertaking that is absolutely necessary and one that will payoff. Standard Operating Procedures must be put in place. IT needs to clearly definewho has access to systems, and the policies and procedures for provisioning and de-provisioning systems, resources and access. ITSM/ITIL processes are needed to driveefficiency and allow the automation to achieve cost savings.Without these ITSM initiatives in place, the relationship and its benefits could be injeopardy. Maybe a Prenuptial is required?
  11. 11. 11Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”Does Cloud Computing Have the Upper Hand in theRelationship?Some may feel that cloud computing is shaking the ITSM books off their shelves. Ithas a tectonic impact, as a disruptive technology, upon ITSM projects. If this continuesthere may not even be a wedding between Cloud Computing and ITSM.The cloud computing discussion is polarizing ITSM theorists and differentiating themfrom practitioners. Proponents of familiar must-have ITSM artifacts, such as servicecatalogs and configuration management databases (CMDB), are either strangelyquiet, or forming committees designed to ensure inter-operability. Disappointingly,few if any ITSM training classes have adapted their curriculum to embrace, include andexplore cloud concepts. Traditional qualification schemes, such as ITIL, and perhapseven the refreshed ISO 20000 standard, are outdated. (ITIL) professionals who want toknow more about cloud computing are highly encouraged to become certified withthe Cloud Credential Council.An older lady once made a remark to me about the similarity between a husbandand floor tile, “If you lay ‘em right the first time, you can walk on them your entire life.”Let’s certainly hope the marriage between Cloud Computing and ITSM is a balancedone! As in any good marriage, one partner supports the other, while each bringsexcitement to the relationship. Together, Cloud Computing and ITSM initiatives musthave a good marriage in order to meet ever-changing business requirements, and,hopefully, all will live “happily ever after”.
  12. 12. 12Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”ConclusionThe core objective of ITSM and Cloud Computing is to cut IT costs, and be ableto meet user demand for IT Services at any given moment. In order to meet theseobjectives, it will be important that a good relationship exists between ITSM andCloud. As in any marriage, the relationship will require facing moments of truth,discipline, commitment, and dedication in order to sustain the objectives. Wheneverthere are concerns or differences between ITSM and Cloud Computing, I would hopethat they would be able to work them out. Otherwise, the biggest stakeholder in thismarriage, i.e., the business, may suffer.It is up to you to decide if the marriage between ITSM and Cloud Computing is “forbetter or for worse?” You be the judge!
  13. 13. 13Cloud Computing and ITSM, ”For Better or for Worse?”