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Cloud Computing – When Change is Hard, Standards & Structure Help

June 17, 2011 - 0 Comments

In my journeys to various industry events over the past 6 months, one element of Cloud Computing has begun to resonate over and over from attendees (customers, service providers, systems integrators) – that we’re well past the stage of discussing or debating “what is Cloud computing?” and that we’ve moved to the stage of many live deployments.

But there is still some confusion or reluctance to reach broad deployments. The bottleneck seems to be less about technology and more related to the challenge of dealing with change. Not only is IT trying to figure out how to evolve their skills to new technologies (converged infrastructure, virtualization, and automation), but they are also trying to evolve their operating models to serve the business in faster, more efficient ways. And so many IT organizations are trying to figure out how to make the first steps to get over this critical hurdle, to provide a more standardized way for the business to interact with IT and derive value from improved pace of application deployments.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” – Confucius

In a recent discussion I had with (former newScale CTO) Rodrigo Flores [portion with Rodrigo starts at 3:00 mark of the podcast], we talked about the early steps that successful companies have taken in deploying not only automation for servers/storage/network, but service catalogs and self-service portals. Rodrigo highlights several aspects of early, successful adopters of Private and Hybrid Cloud Computing.

  • How Cisco has integrated newScale’s award winning Service Catalog into the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud offering, as well as allowed it to remain open to work with 3rd-party platforms and APIs.
  • Service Catalog offers need to be mostly standardized, but with some flexibility around the edges
  • IT teams defining the Service Catalog items (“IT services”) need to think like Product Managers or Product Marketing so that “customers” (lines of business, partners, end-users) can understand the value of what they are ordering.
  • Providing levels of transparency back to consumers of IT services has the ability to quickly change IT usage models (sometimes upward, sometimes downward). “Showback” can often be as powerful to “Chargeback”.

What Rodrigo highlighted is the powerful business impact of not only providing freedom and choice to end-users of IT services, but that it can be done in a way that IT can still maintain accountability and levels of control needed for business continuity, security and auditing.

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