The four principals of Private Cloud – Part 1 – Service Catalogs
Over the last few years NetApp in ANZ has helped a number of companies deploy infrastructure that allows them to begin providing IT as a Service and we’ve found that success comes from focusing on four fundamentals building blocks. A service catalog, service analytics, service automation all of which provide a solid foundation for what the users see, which is ultimately self service
- A Service catalog defines your services with well-defined policies that help you automatically map service levels to infrastructure attributes
- Service analytics helps you to optimize your services with centralized monitoring, metering, and chargeback to enhance visibility and both cost and SLA management
- Automation helps you to rapidly deploy your services by integrating and automating provisioning, protection, and operational processes
- Self-service empowers IT and your end users by enabling service requests to be fulfilled through a self-service portal
The experience NetApp has had in helping our customers like SunCorp,and ING bank make this transition successfully has shown us that that the first indispensable step in moving beyond siloed infrastructure optimisation towards end to end infrastructure and service optimisation is to create an actionable, and automatable internal IT service catalogue.
In a traditional ITSM/ITIL model, the service catalogue acts as the focal point for interaction between IT and the business. It defines a set of discrete IT offerings that the business can request in order to service its own customers. These items include the kind of applications, the availability, performance, and resilience that the business or the end user requires, how to get access to it and how much it costs. A good public example of this can be found here
However when you are looking at providing Infrastructure or Platforms as a service (IaaS/PaaS), your consumer isn’t the business. The primary consumers of these services will probably be internal IT staff. This might include members of the IT infrastructure team teams who need a complete set of resources such as virtual machines and network links to test new management software, or more critically, they may be business solution architects and application developers.
These are the people who are under extreme pressure from the business to develop and deliver new functionality that allows the business to be more competitive. For them, time to market and speed of development are the primary drivers. Money can often be found, especially from OpEx budgets, but time is irreplaceable. They may not know exactly what they need, but they know they need it NOW, and many of them are looking to Amazon and Google to give them their IT resources right now and on-demand.
Change control, stability, security, performance, data protection aren’t top of mind, and the service catalogues provided by the major cloud providers may be “good enough” in their eyes because it gives them the one thing they need the most: it gives them immediacy, agility and time, or in other words, their service catalogues turns time into money.
While this need for speed is understandable, it risks creating a new kinds of uncontrolled and unsecured environment that introduces considerable unmanaged risks for the business. For this reason, IT shops looking to begin the journey towards fully automated self-service provisioning should make the first item on their internal IT service catalogue the ability to rapidly stand up standardised test/dev environments.