Not much attention has been paid toward the many very realistic ways in which ITIL can assist in unifying (and strengthening) certain cloud computing elements. Regardless of how people might feel about ITIL, the fact remains that cloud computing is an evolving extension of the technologies inherent to its predecessor. Likewise, it is this grid computing / networking predecessor that ITIL primarily deals with. However, this is not to say that this is the only link, or rather inherent compatibility, between ITIL and cloud computing. The current build of ITIL can still be deployed in a cloud model in one or more (of several) different ways.
The ITIL help desk, for your cloud computing model
For those institutions / organizations that are just beginning to explore cloud computing, there is a lot to think about; particularly concerning a service desk or help desk. Establishing this key component in the cloud can be a slow, unorganized process which is somewhat painful unless ITIL is involved, of course. So, what are the benefits of utilizing / stashing an ITIL-fueled help desk for your cloud computing needs? The general idea behind any successful help desk implementation is to deliver top capabilities, cost-to-profit value, and a streamlined system for achieving individual tasks. ITIL can achieve these ends, but that’s not the end of the story.
Through the integration of an ITIL-powered help desk it is also possible to set up a system whereby users are not only capable of achieving “self-service”, but are apt to do so. This allows for greater flexibility of personnel and access to answers/ solutions at virtually any time. To boot, all of the above perks simply add to the fact that through ITIL, you are once again disseminating “best practices” throughout your entire organization, which is extremely good. Moreover, the ITIL help desk makes it quite easy to append, alter and add additional facilities / components. In other words, the ITIL help desk creates unity through not only supplying information and solutions, but also through its ingenious design and organizational capabilities.
ITIL as a foundation for transitioning to the cloud, or adding specific individual services
Arguably, the most beneficial aspect to having established an ITIL base is tied to cloud transitioning. Experts have meticulously studied how IT divisions with backgrounds in ITIL fare against those without, when it comes to moving to the cloud, that is. The truth it seems is that having an ITIL system in place not only makes transitioning to the cloud a much simpler process, but it also severely cuts down the total number of mishaps. This is due to the fact that employees operating from within a more highly organized framework, of course.
But aside from organizing one’s infrastructure and operational methodology, ITIL also helps to foster an attitude toward daily operations that is nothing short of spectacular. This is largely due to the fact that IT employees that truly understand the IT service lifecycle, and are perhaps armed with an assortment of readily accessible top solutions, are much less confused and generally more autonomous. It’s important to note that ITIL training isn’t just about specific solutions and certifications; it’s also a system for creating knowledgeable, motivated employees as well.
Using ITIL to manage user defined parameters in a more open cloud model (like IaaS)
For more open cloud models like IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), ITIL can be utilized to manage, and sometimes service, specific components; this only applies to those cloud service models which are more “open-ended” of course. If an organization is utilizing a cloud model that is largely vendor-controlled, then ITIL processes can only be instituted / used by those who are actually managing the service (which is what most higher end cloud vendors might be prone to do).
The most immediate and sensible application of ITIL, to any cloud computing operation (by an independent business), is going to be in situations where a slow transition to the cloud is taking place. In other words, as most businesses simply opt for adding individual cloud services to their already established grid infrastructure, it becomes apparent that ITIL can be used micro-manage these (cloud) services as well. By and large however, ITIL is a perfect companion for hybrid infrastructures which integrate grid computing with specific cloud services and technologies.
So, while ITIL has yet to release a definitive methodology lexicon for cloud computing, it can (and does) still play a vital role in how IT functions from within “the cloud”. Does this mean that all facets of ITIL are perfectly compatible with that of all cloud technologies? No, of course not, but once again, this was never its original intent of design, and yet it (ITIL) is still a “contender” in this regard; ITIL essentially helps to illuminate and organize wherever it is applied.
What’s the next step, you ask? If you’re an IT professional or manager it is strongly advised that you familiarize yourself with both ITIL and cloud computing. In all actuality, those who have an interest in maintaining the status quo should consider attaining certification in both ITIL and cloud computing as well. These disciplines will not only help you remain relevant in an ever-evolving field, but will ensure long term viability as well.