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Sunday, August 14, 2011

ITIL in The Cloud - 2

ITIL in The Cloud (part 2)

In part one I introduced the notion that taking advantage of good business practice in all its forms like ITIL just makes sense, and even more so as one considers operating in, or with, the Cloud.

But when we talk about “the Cloud” what the heck do we mean?

How about this definition from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S.:
“Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

Aha! We are talking about a model for the use of computing resources.

How does that fit with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)? Well, on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is best probably about a 10.

Why so high?

  • ITIL is indifferent to the device technology used because it is concerned with the strategic, design, transition, operations, and improvement levels or layers working above the technology. ITIL deals with the thinking, organizing, and procedural aspects of running the IT business.
  • It recognizes the most critical resource left out of the above definition – the people involved, as both a resource and a source of capability.
  • Rapid provision of services depends on strong design, controlled transition, sound operations, continual improvement (particularly keeping in mind that fewer lifecycle errors leads to higher overall speed of provision).
  • Being able to release with minimal management effort / service provider interaction hinges on sound, well executed process as encouraged by ITIL.
  • And, availability (as well as the other warranty areas of capacity, contingency, and security) are well covered in the ITIL practices

In general, the more complicated the situation, the more benefit can be derived from other's experiences and best practices. Why make all their mistakes – again?

So then if an organization has a solid foundation of ITIL practices and processes, their various roles and responsibilities across the organization figured out, their IT Services catalogued, change and deployment activities under control, etc. then everything is perfect?

“Perfect” is a stretch (unless I am their Advisor). :-)

But I think the question boils down to:
Would you like to take advantage of the terminology, common understanding, thoroughness of checklists and process steps, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and structure of the lifecycle perspective that the best practices from ITIL have to offer, or be mediocre on purpose?

And that can be the difference between seeing the sun above the Cloud or getting rained on.

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