Transitioning to the Cloud? ITIL can help!
It’s more or less common knowledge that ITIL is a perfect compliment to IT infrastructure management (given that it is literally a collection of the best methodologies for doing so); however, it is also useful in other ways. For example, even most IT professionals probably aren’t of the fact that ITIL can be leveraged to design (and build upon the “value chain”) with regards to cloud services. This is largely due to the fact that many of the components of individual cloud services are generally composed of existing technologies which are / were fully ITIL-compatible. In other words, significant portions of cloud technology are directly descendent from grid computing / networking, so why not use the methodology reference which was designed for those elements (ITIL)? The point is, ITIL has significant value to “the cloud” and should not be overlooked. But enough about how ITIL can impact a fully operational cloud computing infrastructure, let’s examine how it (ITIL) can better prepare pre-cloud systems and personnel for a transition.
Many top analysts have already pointed out the fact that, cloud computing transitions are much more streamlined when the IT department in question is steeped in ITIL. It should be fairly obvious to all that any professional IT organization which cultivates a team of ITIL-rich personnel is going to be much better prepared for whatever kinds of changes occur. ITIL training / certification programs are designed to get IT careerists to start thinking about defined solutions to specific problems; but this isn’t the only way that ITIL promotes development of the individual. A very large percentage of IT professionals often leave their ITIL training with a much clearer idea of how the entire IT service lifecycle functions (as well as specific methodologies for each stage of its development). This is an especially important detail for those institutions that are currently undergoing or considering a complete shift to cloud computing.
OK, so let’s imagine that you and your IT organization are just starting to integrate certain cloud services / technologies in with your existing architecture. To say that there will be no problems is wishful thinking; however, if ITIL has been employed to build and manage the current infrastructure, integration should be much more stable (with little-to-no down-time). In reality, maintaining the stability of one’s IT infrastructure is paramount, regardless of what new technologies are added. In the modern world of business, technology (especially IT) is what is often driving lucrative operations. A lapse in service in these types of situations can and will incur serious costs (as well as additional risks with suppliers, manufacturers, partners, customers, etc…). ITIL is in many ways an insulating boundary between potential risks and lapses, but one that is essentially human in nature (as opposed to purely technological).
The modern IT attitude is basically equal parts innovation and risk avoidance. While on the one hand, it can be said that truly “getting ahead” of the competition is impossible without breaking new ground in some capacity, there is also much that can be said about avoiding potential pitfalls. In truth, any positive benefits accrued in terms of technological innovation can be completely whisked away by a few bad decisions or lapses in governance. This is of course why ITIL exists in the first place, to help establish more logical, fluid and sensible IT infrastructure / systems which are less likely to cause lapses of service / blackouts. So, if we take this idea and apply it directly to the processes and events surrounding a (slow or advancing) cloud transition, the effect should be the same; a more stable IT infrastructure and cloud environment.
However, we can’t very well take advantage of what ITIL has to offer us if we have no background in it, can we? This is of course where ITIL training and certification come into play. Aside from the occupational benefits of having ITIL certification on ones’ resume’, training in ITIL will prepare you for the many challenges you will face over the course of your career. Keep in mind that everything you’ll encounter in ITIL 2011, V3, or V2 is based upon real findings and discoveries that were made and implemented by some of the most prestigious experts associated with IT. Studying ITIL is somewhat akin to taking the most comprehensive and beneficial course regarding establishing, managing, maintaining and improving IT infrastructure. The fact is that if you’re an IT professional, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beneficial subject to study than ITIL.
Likewise, cloud computing is yet another area which is definitely worth attaining formal certification in. This is due to the fact that cloud computing is taking the entire IT world by storm. Virtually everywhere you look these days you’ll find cloud computing technologies and infrastructure. A great number of businesses, universities, and governmental organizations have all already embraced cloud computing; so, the demand for skilled IT personnel (with a background in cloud technologies) is definitely there.