Cloud Computing and ITIL: more compatible than previously thought…?

Depending on who you talk to, cloud computing and ITIL are either perfect bedfellows or the odd couple.  Most of the alleged disparity between these two disciplines / technologies comes from the fact that they are stemming from entirely different areas of computing / networking.  For example, ITIL is generally applied to grid computing models, and cloud computing is (obviously) an entirely new way of approaching computing and networking altogether.

But when you look beyond the dissimilarities between the grid and cloud you will discover that cloud computing is in many ways a reorganization of certain pre-existing elements / technologies from previous networking/computing models.  Sure, cloud computing is an entirely new concept and definitely utilizes hardware, software and infrastructure that grid computing does not, but we must keep in mind that cloud computing could not exist if it were not for grid-based computing / networking.

In fact, cloud computing is really a reorganization of assets.  For instance, in grid computing, every individual node or user machine has its own separate storage, hardware, software, and peculiarities; in a cloud model the same still rings true, but all these components are centralized.  This means is that cloud computing is basically providing individual nodes / users with all their assets from one centralized location.  Aside from the management benefits associated with centralization of IT / computing assets, the individual user is also more mobile, flexible and doesn’t need to worry about hardware failure / data loss (as cloud computing is well known for providing better protection against these issues).

Alright, but what does this have to do with ITIL, you might be wondering?  Well, there are essentially two ways that ITIL can reinforce cloud computing as a whole:

One, by establishing a rock-solid ITIL program (as part of one’s pre-cloud environment) you can rest assured that there will be fewer problems when it comes time to transition to a cloud computing model.  This is because ITIL offers much greater clarity, organization and transparency to IT operations and allows for much greater management of personnel and assets in general.  ITIL can help to “untangle” a complex IT infrastructure so that everyone understands it and are able to maintain and upgrade more easily as well.  When an entire organization begins implementing cloud services and infrastructures a well-implemented ITIL program will reduce or eliminate down time as well (which is considered to be vitally important for most industries).

Two, ITIL concepts can be applied to certain user-defined / managed parameters for certain cloud computing models.  What this means is those institutions that purchase services from cloud vendors can utilize ITIL to manage, upgrade, maintain, and perform risk assessment for those service components that the user is responsible for.  So for example, let’s say that you have signed up for an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) cloud computing model, you would have control over your applications, data, runtime, middleware, and perhaps OS (IaaS is considered to be the cloud service model offering users the greatest level of control).  By utilizing ITIL methodologies to micro-manage elements of these components you can rest assured that your team and assets are being utilized in a manner that is befitting cloud logistics, as well as the desires of business-oriented leaders.

So, what are the first steps that an individual or organization should take toward improvement, expansion, preparation and evolution?  The answer to this question can be summed up in the following sentence; ITIL and cloud computing certification.  If you are an IT manager you should know that having a team working under you that is well-versed in ITIL is not only a good idea, but it is a protection against all manner of future mishap(s).

ITIL is akin to a sacred text for IT professionals as it contains years of research, trial and error successes, and the meticulous methodologies of legendary experts from across the globe.  ITIL is a culmination of years of diligent study and trailblazing in the field of IT infrastructure and problem solving, and there’s really nothing to compare it to that is capable of providing the same insights.  Becoming certified in ITIL is not only a great career move for individuals, but it is also a way for businesses to ensure that their IT employees are “on the same page”.

Likewise, cloud computing certification and training is extremely important due to the fact that the entire computing industry, as well as the face of global technology, is moving toward large-scale adoption (of cloud computing technology).  This is largely because cloud computing offers greater flexibility and possibility while at the same time allowing for a winning cost-to-profit ratio.  Essentially, cloud computing can do more while costing less, and everyone wants to get in on the action because of this very reason.  So, what’s the bottom line?  If you want to remain competitive (from an internal and/or external perspective, adopting cloud computing technology is the way to go; and if you are serious about running an intelligent and efficient IT department capable of facing current and future challenges, ITIL certification is an excellent start.