Clouderati vs. Itilista: Thoughts on the Linkage of Cloud and ITIL and Where Twain Fails to Meet

Recently I was speaking with project manager implementing ITIL for the whole service lifecycle. For those, unfamiliar, ITIL is a process framework of 22 processes to manage a service from “Should we do it?” to “How are we are designing it,” “How do we operate it” and the end, “We are getting rid of it.”

Somewhere in there, the whole how to do it requires a service catalog to design, assemble, offer, order, and deliver the service. – which is why we were talking.
So far so good.

But the project manager, she struggled with how to make all this process framework relevant to her customer, to get the project funded. So I asked her, “are you building a private cloud?”

A bit of hemm and haw, and out comes a torrential downpour of projects for virtualization, cloud public and private, etc, etc. And her customers she had to sell were the people who were running these projects.

Which explained the focus on the service lifecycle?! It’s no good to make server provisioning 5 minutes, if architecture reviews, requirements, design, change management, etc, are all done manually as one-of’s bespoke projects that take 6-18 months!

The real issue is how do you accelerate the throughput of the whole cycle! At the top level, the execs understood this is the real challenge, but down in the implementation level, every one doing the best they can, the forest gets lost, the link unbroken.

So far my observation can be summarized as:
ITIL
Focused on process
Focused on customers
No linkage to automation, dismissive

Cloud
Focused on automation
Focused on infrastructure
No linkage to business, take that forĀ granted

I don’t want to imply that one is better than the other, rather to point out that these are two cultures that need each other, but may not be articulating their concerns and objectives in ways that each can listen and help.

For example, the cloud requires automation of process and policies to speed provisioning of services. Which is why they get annoyed by the ITILISTA focus on manual process.

And ITIL focus on being a common language sounds plain condescending when your customer truly talks different. “Hey, it’s the common language so learn it if you want to be talk right!” just infuriates data center folk.

Finally, ITIL lack of focus on automation, getting rid of process steps and rigid definitions completely disables people building clouds from bringing in their objectives, tools, language to the table.

ITIL prescribes a cumbersome process, very manual, with meetings, etc. In the cloud, we are looking for self-service, instant delivery of computing resource. Should that go through change management?

Your answer will determine whether you are an ITILista or a Clouderati.

Until then, it remains cloudy, with a chance of ITIL.

Best Practices

Paul Maritz, VMware CEO – General Session Keynote Mentions Service Catalog

Paul Maritz presented their view of the Front Office of IT, that includes Service Catalog, Self-service, charge back and service profiles. This is all about Offer a Cloud.

In other words, they have adopted newScale’s Front Office vision; which is great.

However, based on the Lifecycle Manager lab that I attended last night, their ‘catalog’ is still very much focused on the back-end mechanics. It’s a good step but has a few years to mature.

So overall, I’m very pleased by this development. It validates what I’ve been writing for a while. IT needs to be able to make offers to manage demand. Cloud is all about standard offerings.

Trends