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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ITIL in The Cloud - 1

ITIL in The Cloud (part 1)

At the risk of sounding like one of the Four Yorkshiremen in the Monty Python sketch talking about how rough their childhoods were...

When I was a lad I had to get up before going to bed, walk barefoot through ten foot snowdrifts, and write Assembler code and such for mainframes such as the IBM 360, DEC PDP-10, and Xerox Data Systems Sigma 7. (Yes; Xerox Corporation was briefly in the mainframe business after buying Scientific Data Systems. And their research facility really did inaugurate desktop networked Personal Computers etc. long before anyone else. All fascinating stories for another time.)

And in those days of mainframes closeted in well protected data centres we had to play by the rules – for access, usage privileges, changes, etc. - because the strict governance of these million dollar babies was crucial to the owning organization, and careers.

Today we have, ta-da, the Cloud.

So as we begin to operate “in the Cloud” should we toss away everything we learned fifty years ago, including solid business practice for managing computing resources and services such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)?

A business associate, Will Shook, writes as he starts up another information technology and services company [Accelerence, LLC]:
The issue at hand for me is this:  we built a model around computing many years ago and very good practices were developed in the glass house.  Then we went to client / server computing and everybody forgot everything about controls and processes.   Skip forward to the cloud and it seems everyone has forgot about good governance once again as they get focused on the technology, but not predictable results from the technology.  Good governance is more important than ever now, given the sharing of workloads, the mixed model of asset ownership and operation, and the preponderance of devices, data, and access methods.  ITIL should be a huge win in the world of the cloud.
Absolutely should be!

As the technology gets more complicated, and the management of it gets more complicated, and the difficulty of understanding what is done for whom, by whom, and under what circumstances increases, doesn't it make sense to take advantage of good business practice?

In fact, for those organizations who have developed thorough IT Service Management processes with ARCI tables, Service Portfolios and Catalogues, strong Operating Level Agreements and Service Level Agreements (just to note a few) moving to the use of Cloud services is easier.  At least they know what services they are talking about, can plug in new roles and responsibilities readily, and pinpoint service level requirements and dependencies.

If you are about to change some or all of your computing model isn't it nice to know in detail what you do today, how you do it, and have insightful and directed questions for your new Cloud suppliers?

Beats walking barefoot through ten foot snowdrifts!

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