ITIL is well known in the IT community, and for good reason, it is literally a collection of all the known (working) methodologies and problem solving solutions. But ITIL isn’t limited to the respective “radars” of IT people however; it has also matriculated across to those stemming from business backgrounds as well. Why the interest from the business establishment, you might be prone to wonder? Well, ITIL is not just a solution for IT professionals; it also helps those in (business) management and accounting positions to not only integrate new ideas as they emerge, but also to ensure long term viability / security. While those coming from a strict business background with no IT training or experience are not going to truly understand ITIL (as a science), having their IT counterparts well versed in it will allow for more productive cross-party talks, so to speak. In other words, through ITIL it may be possible to establish a more mutually beneficial relationship between IT and business.
As far as cloud computing is concerned, ITIL has yet to establish a formalized role in its development; but this is rapidly changing. ITIL 2011 for example (find a program for it here), was modified to include cloud computing tidbits; but once again, no comprehensive cloud computing component has been added to ITIL, as of yet. However, this does not imply that ITIL cannot still play a role in the development of cloud infrastructure or its management.
In fact, those institutions who already had (or have) ITIL structures in place have found transitioning to cloud computing to be a much more streamlined affair. Not to mention the fact that those organizations which are steeped in an ITIL knowledge base often encounter few to no operational / logistical mishaps when transitioning to a cloud environment. Even if an organization doesn’t intend to move their entire infrastructure over to the cloud (perhaps opting to court individual services as needed), ITIL is still an excellent control mechanism for ensuring proper operation and interface with existing infrastructure. In this manner, ITIL can be used to create order amongst disparate grid and cloud components.
But ITIL isn’t simply about solutions to infrastructure related queries. ITIL is also an excellent way to get an entire IT division thinking about their individual duties as well as the service lifecycle in general. ITIL Intermediate for example (find it here), is structured in such a manner as to teach individuals about specific elements of the IT lifecycle itself. This is a very important and useful approach to ITIL training for most IT professionals as you gain the benefit of various IT solutions, but within the context of the specific service area that they pertain to. When we extend this line of thought to include cloud computing, it’s fairly clear that using ITIL methodologies to enhance or reinforce specific services / components (of Cloud Computing) is also a novel concept.
But what about cloud computing training, is it worth the time and effort? It could be argued that cloud computing training is more of an investment in the future than any other form of IT-centric extended professional development. This is because cloud computing is surging in popularity amongst consumers, businesses and even governmental institutions. By the same token, development of cloud technologies continues to grow, and at a dizzying pace of development. ITIL too has been ramping up their coverage of cloud computing in recent years and are pushing for a new release covering cloud infrastructure as well.
It has been said many times, by many different people, in many different languages across the globe; Cloud Computing has arrived and it isn’t going away any time soon. The general attitude of the IT community toward cloud computing is somewhat mixed to say the least. Some feel that it is a godsend, while others see it only as yet another repackaging of the current (grid) model. The overwhelming truth is that most IT workers are more or less indifferent to cloud computing, and are perhaps waiting to see what impact it will have in the coming years before jumping on any particular bandwagon. In truth however, cloud computing is a dramatic improvement over the grid computing / networking model in a number of ways. Does this imply that cloud computing is a living embodiment of perfection? Of course not, cloud computing is still growing, adapting, and refining its elements / processes; however, it is moving quickly toward the moment when it will likely replace the current model (if not worldwide then in many viable sectors of industry at the very least).
So, while study of ITIL is certainly more than advisable if one wants to establish quality IT infrastructure in the present (and future), cloud computing training is more of a nod to the future (with real application in the present). To put it simply, both of these areas of training and certification (ITIL and CC) are more than necessary for establishing, maintaining, operating, and improving modern IT infrastructure(s), and meeting the demands of the business world now and in the future.