Just because ITIL isn’t currently structured to be fully compatible with cloud computing (right “out of the box”, so to speak) doesn’t mean that it is incompatible. It’s important to note that ITIL and cloud computing are coming from entirely different perspectives, but why is this seen as a weakness or disparity? More often than not (it is through) diversification and the combination of various disciplines is what ultimately leads to breakthroughs and so many serendipitous solutions.
Cloud computing is a perfect example of this; it was forged from its predecessor (grid computing / networking) and numerous software advancements (which were originally developed for the web). Over time, the basic cloud computing infrastructure took form and gave us what we have today. The point is, the initial development of standardized cloud models required abstract thinking / problem solving in addition to the purely linear (in an ideal world, one should reinforce the other and vice-versa). So, how does this apply to ITIL and cloud computing, specifically? Cloud computing aficionados should utilize ITIL to add supplementary stability to its infrastructure and foster coalescence.
The general consensus from across the IT industry seems to dictate that cloud computing is a step forward, although it is often structurally labeled by many as some form of devolution. The terms ‘devolving’ and ‘devolution’ imply decentralization, which is the opposite of what cloud computing actually does, or rather seeks to accomplish. The entire point of cloud computing is to rigidly centralize computing and networking assets into one giant infrastructure / architecture. As the theory goes; once everything is centralized it’s much easier to manage as well as protect, deploy, alter, maintain, and deliver.
However, one of the primary perceived weaknesses inherent to cloud computing is its tendency to create, or aggregate “bundles” or individualized components. The problem with this (having an overabundance of disconnected modules) is that serious problems can arise in terms of incompatibilities, unexpected errors, security, and other more generalized operational risks. In other words, if there’s no singular force pushing for an established order, infrastructure can be compromised and/or break down fairly easily.
This is especially bad news for cloud vendors, who shoulder the greatest levels of responsibility when it comes to IT services for cloud computing. In any cloud computing service model, cloud vendors are responsible for between ‘all to half’ of cloud-related infrastructure management tasks. Cloud subscribers or users generally purchase pre-packaged services on a pay-per-use basis, many of which are not particularly customizable. The model which offers the greatest level of flexibility is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service); this type of service model allows users to implement / control / manage their applications, data, runtime, middleware, and OS. Likewise, this is the model that allows for the greatest level of ITIL-influenced adjudication as well.
This of course brings us to the “main event” concern; can ITIL be used to generate new cloud solutions? If an IT organization has a solid ITIL-laden infrastructure in place, things will only become more clear, organized and useful. For example, in a cloud service model, ITIL can be used in tandem with certain software / applications to create real solutions for cloud infrastructure. Does this mean that ITIL can be applied liberally across the entire cloud? No, the current knowledge base for ITIL does not include a comprehensive overview of all cloud-related technologies; but it is important to note that most all cloud technologies came from grid computing (which is what ITIL primarily deals with).
But this isn’t the only way that ITIL can assist cloud computing ventures. Time and time again it has been shown that those IT organizations that have a backbone comprised of ITIL standards / procedures are much better off when they finally do transition over to cloud computing. Even if an organization doesn’t fully transition to the cloud, they can still utilize ITIL to ensure that any cloud-based services that they purchase individually not only function inside their current infrastructure / build, but also behave in a predictable manner. All in all ITIL is about fostering predictability and long-term security.
This brings us to our final point; what you and your organization can do to take better advantage of ITIL and cloud computing so that you remain both viable (as a service) and competitive (in your market). The answer of course is training and certification in both of these areas (ITIL and CC). IT employees are much better off personally and professionally when they approach things from a perspective which includes an intimate knowledge of ITIL. After all, ITIL is one of the foremost repositories of proven processes and methodologies for establishing, operating, maintaining, improving and troubleshooting IT infrastructure in existence. There are many excellent ITIL training and certification programs out there which are delivered digitally and are specifically created for the sole purpose of preparing individuals for certification examinations.
Cloud computing training and certification should also be high on every IT-entrenched professional’s list of “additional certifications to obtain”. This is because cloud computing is “the next big thing” and according to top analysts and insiders, “is not going away any time soon”. In fact, it’s a slight misnomer to even call cloud computing “the next big thing” as it is already here in full force! All one has to do is look around at all the ordinary civilians using CC every single day via the web, or the many governmental / academic institutions and businesses utilizing it (to see that it has in fact, “arrived”).