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Cloud broke your ITSM? Hybrid operations can help

MironMizrahi

 

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Driven by digital transformation and DevOps, many enterprise customers are increasing their cloud adoption, moving increasingly more workloads to a cloud platform. At the same time, they are fast realizing that workloads and clouds do not manage themselves—and while many of the obstacles that had once existed in the more traditional environment (e.g. inflexible capacity, lack of self-service) are gone, the management needs have not.

Monitoring, compliance, change management, SLA management, and many other capabilities are still needed, but are too slow and rigid to work in this new Cloud/DevOps world. One may be tempted to think that frameworks like ITSM or ITIL and their associated tooling are now archaic, irrelevant, and that new tools are needed. However, this line of thinking is misguided; the issues lie not with ITSM or the toolset necessarily, but with how the toolset is used to implement ITSM.

 

Cloud's role in bimodal IT

Businesses today are undergoing a digital transformation with the goal of becoming more agile, friendlier to customers and users, more efficient, and better equipped to make rapid moves in their respective markets. Unfortunately one of the downsides of this transformation is that IT is splintering. Some call this state bimodal IT (which is the term I will be using herein), some call it two-speed IT, and some refer to it as IT vs. BT (Business Technology). But the name doesn’t matter—what matters is that IT now has two largely conflicting mission statements:

  1. Safeguard the enterprise, ensure stability, and contain costs (Mode 1 )
  2. Power innovation, experimentation, and agility (Mode 2)

 

While Cloud can play a role in Mode 1 (reduce costs), Mode 2 is where it really shines. Against this backdrop, you might be driven to conclude that there is no choice but to create two separate IT organizations, each with its own people, processes, and technology. This would be a mistake because business processes are like migratory animals: They don’t really care much for artificial, arbitrary borders.

Business processes traverse applications and infrastructure, and having your entire IT landscape split into two separate domains is a recipe for trouble. Regardless of how one might structure their IT organization to cope with these two modes of operation, one thing is clear: There needs to be as much commonality as possible.

 

ITSM is broken

When you consider this shift to bimodal IT, it is easy to see why ITSM is broken: It was designed for Mode 1. Almost every ITSM implementation was designed to exert as much control as possible over the environment. It was process-heavy, had many control points, and relied on human intervention and decision making.

This worked well for many years, but a system designed for control is by its very nature slow and rigid, and that is the antithesis of Mode 2, which is all about flexibility and agility. Monitoring is a great example: In the traditional world, IT Operations was in full control of the environment. Each time anything was provisioned, IT knew about it and could add monitoring as needed.

Enter Cloud and this picture no longer holds true: Application developers are independently provisioning infrastructure through self-service, and IT Operations is not even aware this is happening. And it gets worse with containers, where software – not humans – is now provisioning infrastructure. Consequently, as it’s currently practiced, monitoring is a Mode 1 process that is unsuitable for our new bimodal world because the whole process of “let’s analyze the system architecture, define what needs to be monitored, and then deploy the monitors” simply breaks down. There is nothing necessarily wrong with the process or the technology, but rather with how they were both implemented.

It is easy to paint the same example for virtually any ITSM process: change, configuration, asset, and so on. I’ve written extensively about how monitoring can be adapted for Mode 2 in my blog post series on the Agile Operations Bridge. In the second part of this blog I will explain how the same principles can be applied, resulting in a hybrid operations platform.

 

Miron Mizrahi is WW Solution Marketing Lead of Cloud, Converged Security, and IT Operations at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software Services. Follow him on Twitter at @MironMizrahiHPE.

 

Related links:

HPE Software Cloud and Automation Services

Blog post: Satisfying “the need for speed” with automation

Blog post: Why your IT Operations Bridge holds the keys to increasing velocity

Blog post: Organization is the first step toward an agile IT Operations Bridge

Blog post: What an agile IT Operations Bridge and IKEA has in common: Standardization

 

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MironMizrahi

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