Why ITIL should play a role in Cloud Computing planning & strategy
To assume that there should, or even could be just one set of practices or methodologies which would completely cover cloud strategizing in its entirety, is wishful thinking at best. Does this mean that something of this nature won’t emerge in the coming months and years? No, of course not; but as it is, many different disciplines are needed in order to effectively plan a successful transition to the cloud or to simply craft strategies with one that’s already operational. Of the many technical reference resources available to IT professionals, ITIL is among the most useful, especially for those managing cloud computing systems.
When we think of cloud computing one of the things that immediately springs to mind is of course, centralization. For businesses however, the real draw to the cloud is going to be “services”. In cloud computing, services are essentially capabilities or processes, they are often visualized as being very “silo-like”. Many have stated before that the true value of cloud computing lies in the quality and abilities of its services, and they’re right. The general idea is that, through cloud computing, these services can be built to perform very specific tasks / duties and then be leveraged across the entire infrastructure.
One of the most interesting uses for the cloud service deployment concept is transferring or salvaging elements of one’s “legacy” infrastructure (for use in the cloud). In other words, taking the critical and useful components from traditional IT and repositioning / rebuilding them as part of a new cloud service offering; in this way, the best or most useful elements of the previous architecture can be saved. In these types of cases, it is best if ITIL has been used to organize and streamline traditional pre-cloud architectures. After the transferred components (from traditional IT) have been repurposed for use as a cloud service, ITIL can still be used to manage them, or rather it (that particular cloud service offering).
In terms of strategizing in the cloud, there are potentially innumerable ways to utilize any methodology resource (like ITIL), but principally just two main overlying benefits associated with cloud computing in general. These two concepts are; sustaining a manageable and projected budget as well as assuring increased savings by means of more efficient centralization strategies. To put that into more digestible terms, cloud computing allows an organization to make more informed long term decisions regarding the use of their infrastructure, and cut energy consumption costs by incorporating a more energy efficient design across an entire network.
Sure, there are many other benefits associated with utilizing cloud computing, but the aforementioned two concepts are usually what bring businesses to the table; in addition to the ability to purchase useful new services on a pay-as-you-go basis. So, how does ITIL factor into this scenario? ITIL is used to organize traditional IT in such a manner as to allow for more strategic planning (there are multiple sections devoted to the subject of strategizing), so why not simply repurpose this approach for cloud computing? Likewise, even if ITIL isn’t implemented for use across the entire cloud architecture, it can still be used to deal with those services which might be constructed from pre-cloud components.
Interestingly enough, utilizing ITIL to prep an entire IT organization and its assets for transitioning to the cloud has been shown to be extremely successful. Not only were these same ITIL-infused groups able to sustain their functionality during transition to a cloud architecture, but they were also able to do so with minimal downtime and virtually no loss of functionality.
The bottom line is that the practices and methods inherent to the ITIL are among the best ever created or envisioned for the entire field of IT; failure to absorb this knowledge is akin to disregarding decades of important research from some of the greatest minds in IT.
If you are interested in adding ITIL certification to your list of accomplishments and resume’ there’s never been a better time than right now. Not only is the entire industry becoming increasingly reliant on resource methodologies like ITIL, but employers too are quick to scan for these types of technical certifications. In truth, it’s never been easier to become certified in ITIL as there are now excellent and convenient e-learning options available, which are not only expertly designed, but also extremely affordable as well. In addition to ITIL, it is also a great idea to consider becoming certified in one of several areas in cloud computing.