How ITIL can help in maintaining low Cloud Computing costs

If you were to interview businesses who have successfully adopted cloud models “what their top three reasons for moving to the cloud were?” you would most likely find cost-effectiveness to be among them.  Perhaps this is because cloud computing is, by its very nature, a brokered service delivered by third parties?  Well, to (further) clarify, cloud computing technology is normally provided by a vendor(s), who tends to offer use of “the cloud” via a metering system to their clients.  The standard model seems to tend toward public clouds as opposed to private ones (private clouds can be quite expensive to set up as well, which is why utilizing a cloud vendor is a much more popular route to take).

The central point here is that one of the most lauded topics in the world of cloud computing is budgetary reduction; or rather, the ability of cloud computing to trim investment costs.  It’s not that cloud computing is easier to manage or initiate, but rather that it can achieve more, with less.

For example, in a direct comparison (of energy usage) between a traditional IT infrastructure (grid computing / networking) and a cloud infrastructure, it is clear that cloud computing uses less energy than its forerunner.  This is because individual nodes / terminals / users don’t require their own extensive set of computing / storage / power / hardware (or even software) resources.  So, when individual “nodes” aren’t in use, they can be powered down or placed on standby; this is a significant cost-cutting measure as traditional IT has to constantly feed hundreds of power hungry nodes which are more or less always running.  Over time, the power to operate these hundreds of completely idle systems really adds up, translating into increased power consumption (with no possible ROI).  Likewise, having a multitude of individual systems with their own components increases the likelihood of frequent breakdowns, leading to time lost and additional labor costs.

However, while cloud computing is a much more efficient model than grid computing, it is still not without its faults.  For instance, as there is no formally established body of policies, regulations or methodologies dictating how to go about the business of establishing or running a cloud, things can become somewhat disorganized.  In other words, without some form of control mechanism in place, cloud computing can quickly generate a “spider’s web of confusion” regarding how the infrastructure operates and / or is to be managed.  This is of course why we need to employ the wisdom inherent in a working methodology collection, like ITIL.  After all, ITIL is already being used to organize and mange traditional IT infrastructure (which it has an excellent track record in, by the way), so why not cloud computing as well?

Further evidence of the effectiveness of ITIL within a cloud computing environment can be found by examining how well ITIL prepares traditional IT infrastructure for transition to the cloud.  This is to say that ITIL facilitates the preparation of elements of IT infrastructure as well as the personnel who manage them / it.  IT organizations that have utilized ITIL prior to transitioning to the cloud, (all or in part) report a much smoother experience with little-to-no downtime, and no loss of ability / service(s) to boot.  The bottom line is that ITIL is not only a treasure trove of useful information; it can also function as another layer of organization for reigning in an entire IT operation.

This of course brings us to the very important issue of IT employee training and certification; more specifically, as they both relate to ITIL and cloud computing at large.  The simple fact of the matter is that today’s IT employee needs to have a background in ITIL (to meet or exceed today’s standards) as well as cloud computing (which could soon replace the traditional IT model).   Unlike the training / certification programs of the past, today’s courses can be delivered digitally and are not only more affordable, but also better designed and compatible with a busy career schedule.

Click here for information about ITIL e-learning / certification.
Click here for information about cloud computing training / certification.

Greater efficiency leads to increased savings / profits, but achieving it requires increasing levels of organization.  In this way, ITIL can function as a gateway of sorts for establishing a more highly ordered IT operation, which in turn, increases effectiveness.  Of the various ways that ITIL is able to help lower cloud computing costs, its ability to systematize infrastructure is perhaps one of the most important.

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