ITIL creates a solid foundation for Private Cloud Computing solution (as well as public ones… )

The growing importance and popularity of private cloud computing technology should be a signal to all IT professionals that a paradigm shift in expectations is occurring before our very eyes.  This is to say that formal training and study of cloud computing is fast becoming a necessity (if you want to remain valid in the industry, that is).  However, it should also be noted that our collective understanding of cloud computing is still somewhat limited.  While a great deal of headway has already been made into cloud-based technological research, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s still a “young” area, so to speak.  This is why it’s important to keep an open mind with regards to possible supplementary (or even unexpected) elements / methods / concepts of driving / molding cloud computing.  ITIL is one of these “supplementary elements”, and a very powerful / influential one at that.

Those who already know about the supreme influence of ITIL over traditional IT infrastructure and operation(s) should perfectly understand how ITIL can assist in the cloud.  Of course one would also have to know a thing or two about cloud computing, naturally.   The simple fact of the matter is that many of the technologies that you’ll find in “the cloud” are merely elements which have been adapted from traditional IT infrastructure.  For instance, much of the “action” in cloud computing revolves around “services”.  These services can be deployed singularly or in groups and may even be comprised of bundles of elements from a pre-existing infrastructure (traditional).  This is to say that many institutions often integrate their legacy systems / technologies / elements into a cloud computing infrastructure by confining them to “service silos” (or one service silo, to be more specific).  Because many of these legacy systems / programs can be perfectly managed via ITIL methodologies it only makes sense to utilize it (ITIL).

Public Clouds
While public clouds are largely vendor-managed, certain cloud models do allow for a certain level of user customization / exploitation; this might be limited to surface objects like apps, programs or services.  In other words, many of the fundamental elements of infrastructure might be restricted in a public cloud, yet the user might have complete control over what takes place on top of that infrastructure, if you will.  Since ITIL is already one of the most recognized sources for proven methodologies regarding establishing, maintaining, and / or modifying IT infrastructure, it only makes sense to apply it to management of a public cloud offering.

Private Cloud computing
Private cloud computing is not that common, as of yet.   The high initial investment costs and lack of a completely documented system for establishing a rock-solid infrastructure are big drawbacks for most companies.  This is especially true considering that most institutions become interested in cloud computing after they learn about its cost-effectiveness.  Building a private cloud computing solution is extremely cost-effective in the long run, but getting over that initial investment “bump” is a bit tricky.  Likewise, cloud computing is still young and hasn’t been fully explored and certainly isn’t fully developed.

On the other hand, there are alternative cloud-based solutions that aren’t quite as extensive or designed to replace traditional infrastructure entirely.  A great example of this would be integrating individual cloud services into pre-established traditional cloud architecture; i.e. merely adding cloud components to your current system.    This is a very popular choice for businesses and academic / governmental organizations as it allows for a slower, more controlled cloud transition.  Additionally, it’s far less likely that disruptions in service delivery will occur if individual elements are introduced, in lieu of a shift in architecture.  In this type of scenario, ITIL can be utilized as a primary management system / reference tool for ensuring proper functionality of IT infrastructure.

However, the one area where ITIL truly shines is prepping for a cloud transition.  Whether or not many people within the IT community want to realize it, cloud computing is probably going to replace a large segment of traditional IT infrastructure(s).  Obviously, it’s to early to tell whether or not cloud computing is going to replace grid computing / networking entirely, but it is being openly debated by IT experts and insiders.  For the average IT professional, this should be a sign that adherence to, and study of cloud computing fundamentals is definitely in order (if only to remain competitive / viable).

Two of the most important supplementary training areas for new and seasoned IT employees alike are Cloud Computing and ITIL.  The former (cloud computing) being a nod to the future, and the latter (ITIL), an integral part of the past, present and future.  Both (of these) areas of study should be intensely investigated by any and all IT personnel who wish to maintain an extended career (in the field of IT).

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