Frameworks like ITIL add “rigidity” to the Cloud
If there’s one thing (which many have previously stated) that might be lacking with regards to cloud computing it is perhaps “rigidity”, or rather a very well-defined system and components. Of the major complaints about cloud technology, lack of established methodologies and policies inherent to its infrastructure ranks extremely high. This perceived lack of established guidelines makes cloud computing seem scattered or incomplete, and further opens the door for questions about security (or rather, the ability of IT personnel to ensure security in the cloud). The simple fact of the matter is that we desperately need additional frameworks in cloud computing; one of them being ITIL.
To truly understand how ITIL can impact cloud computing we have to back up and ask how they are related. Though many are quick to brand cloud computing as some entirely new form of technology, it is in fact more a re-thinking or reorganization of traditional IT infrastructure. When we speak of cloud computing, we are really referencing a new type of IT / computing architecture which is primarily centralized; this is the exact opposite of the traditional IT model which is largely decentralized. Perhaps calling the traditional IT model “decentralized” is a bit extreme, it’s better to say that many individual elements of it are decentralized, while it still relies on a centralized system for cross-communication. Cloud computing on the other hand, is pretty much entirely centralized.
In traditional IT, you have multitudes of individual nodes / systems, each with its own hardware and software resources. The problem with this model is that things like energy usage tends to be disproportionate to any actual work performed / power resources requisitioned; so, in other words, money is spent fueling a large network of systems which essentially do nothing at all. Cloud computing on the other hand, creates a central infrastructure which comprises multitudes of virtual systems which can be managed more efficiently.
In a cloud computing model, there is no need for individual hardware / software resources as they can created and managed from one central location. What most people aren’t aware of is the fact that hardware stacks from traditional IT infrastructure are routinely repurposed for use in cloud computing infrastructures. In other words, cloud computing isn’t necessarily dependent on entirely new hardware or software, it is merely a rethinking of how we might be able to better use and organize existing components.
Many of the services inherent to cloud computing are essentially ITIL-constructed and reliant structures which have been separated and placed inside of “silos”, if you will. This is to say that many of the most valuable or critical elements of cloud computing are not only compatible with ITIL, but have actually been built utilizing it. Likewise, ITIL can be (and perhaps should be) utilized to manage those components.
Though ITIL is basically a collection of best practices for IT infrastructure management and problem solving, it can actually serve multiple roles in other capacities. For instance, through the application of ITIL, IT team members come to understand the nature of IT and their relation to it in a more personal, or direct manner. ITIL also fosters organizing principles which virtually any IT professional can use to enhance their ability to perform their career duties more efficiently.
In addition to facilitating smooth cloud operation, ITIL training is also one of the absolute best ways to prepare an IT department and infrastructure for transition to the cloud. Organizations that regularly practice and apply ITIL principles are not only more effective overall; they are also able to transition into cloud computing in a much smoother fashion. Even those organizations that aren’t fully transitioning to the cloud and are opting for adding cloud services / technologies to their existing (traditional) IT infrastructure tend to greatly benefit from ITIL entrenchment. Simply put, ITIL is a powerhouse solutions facilitator for virtually anything concerning and IT operations and its infrastructure.
Along with ITIL, there is also certification available in the field of cloud computing itself. Cloud computing certification courses tend to focus on either infrastructure or security and prepare current or future IT professionals for the duties and challenges they are likely to face when working with cloud components and / or architecture. However, unlike ITIL, cloud computing is still a work-in-progress and perhaps can’t offer the same level of career benefits as that of ITIL. This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t consider a cloud computing certification course in addition to that of ITIL; only that for most IT workers, ITIL might be more of an immediate priority.