Driving IT in the Cloud Era

Kudos to @AndiMann for posting a link to a new blog post1 by a vCloud architect for VMWare with the strange title AWS: A Space Shuttle to Go Shopping. Go read it now. For brevity, here are the 4 myths:

  1. Cloud is not about virtualization
  2. It is about Pay as you go
  3. Cloud optimizes resource consumption
  4. Scalability and elasticity are primary drivers

The article demonstrates these 4 myths of cloud adoption are decidedly false, or at the very least incomplete, specific to AWS. Virtualized servers are the primary driver. Organizations are over-utilizing pay as you go pricing to their own financial loss. Resources are not better utilized, and few organizations need or use rapid scalability or elasticity.

It suggests that IT organizations can compete with cloud providers, and I believe they ultimately will be successful. Here are some drivers that I believe are more important to current adoption patterns.

  1. Transparent services and pricing. Customers and users of cloud-based services readily understand what service they are receiving and at what cost.
  2. Automated Provisioning: The provisioning of these services by the cloud providers is automated and generally completed within seconds or minutes.
  3. Bypassing controls: Business units can bypass traditional organizational policies, processes, procedures, or controls and order directly from cloud providers.

Information Technology is not helpless. In fact many of the tools IT will need have been at their disposal for several years and are described in frameworks of good practices.

  1. Service Catalog
  2. Financial Management
  3. Continuous Improvement

When cloud providers make their services and costs transparent, they are using a Service Catalog. IT organizations can do the same.

Financial Management goes hand-in-hand with the Service Catalog, for making transparent not only the costs of services, but how organizations are being charged for services and for which services. Here is the key point–this remains true whether or not there is any mechanism of charge back based on the services consumed specifically by business unit.

Automating ITSM in the Cloud Era.003I would argue that simplicity and transparency are two of the primary motivations behind cloud adoption. Moreover, I would argue that the longer-term adoption of outsourced services to organizations such as HP, IBM, or InfoSys had as more to do with transparency than with getting improved services for less cost. Arguably the latter seldom occurs.

In order to compete with the new breed of cloud provider, IT organizations will need to accelerate the  delivery of services from days or weeks to minutes or hours. This will inevitably require, among other things, automation. These subjects will become recurring themes throughout this blog during the coming months.

1 This post has been sitting in my queue for a few weeks.