Redefining the Enterprise Service Delivery with Legacy Modernization

Srini Sundar Jr

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Related Topics: Cloud Computing


ITIL Service Management Model Adoption to Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is a model for enabling, convenient, on-demand network access to a pool of configurable computing resources

It Service Management (ITSM) has matured over the years and IT Service organizations have  transformed into a highly matured process using the ITIL Service Management Framework.  There are some key chracteristics of ITIL that contribute to its global success like Non-proprietary, Non-prescriptive  and Best practices. One significant value proposition of the ITIL framework is that  its practices are measurable.  However this article is not about explaning further on the ITIL service managment model rather its adoption to the emerging new  platform  of service delivery 'Cloud Computing'.

'Cloud Computing'  is a model for enabling, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

So what does it meant to me as ITIL practising Service Provider when  I need to serve my clients as cloud service provider. Let us look into the 'ITIL Service management practices - core guidance ' and how they needs to be adopted with respect to the Cloud Computing characteristics. Basic understanding of terminologies on ITIL service management core guidance have been assumed from thr reader.

ITIL core set consists of five major topics :


There several processes and functions within each of the topics, explanation of all of these processes and functions will be outside the scope of this article, however there are specific processes and functions which will have an highest impact due to the adoption of cloud computing model have been elaborated here and the IT Service organizations may have to tailor their processes accordingly. This article  does not suggest any single direction  to fit the ITIL framework for Cloud Computing rather it throws light on the areas that will have a major impact and the organization policies needs to assessed on case by case basis to adopt them to cloud computing.

Service Asset And Configuration Management :  This is one of the process under SERVICE TRANSITION. A configurable item (CI) is an asset, service component or other item which is under the control of Configuration Management. All along ITIL configuration management process is very effective in keeping track of physical servers and infrastructure. However one of the basic attributes of Cloud Computing is that it supports dynamic infrastructure, which means that the underlying infrastructure in your data center has to dynamically cater to the changing level of demand. Virtualization is the concept that enables dynamic infrastructure in a cloud computing environment. Virtualization allows to run multiple Virtual Machines (VM) on a single physical server and these Virtual Machines can be elastically started and shut down based on demand.  This gives a key challenge to how to track virtual servers from your configuration management. It mainly depends on the  Cloud Management Platform's ability to  manage the Virtual Servers.

Incident/Problem  Management : Incident management includes any event  which disrupts or which could disrupt a service.  Sucessful incident management leads to Problem Management which is the root cause of one or more incidents. Problem resolution depends on the details of problem logging and detection which includes logging and analysis of the following.

  • User Details
  • Service Details
  • Equipment Details
  • Details of diagnostic actions taken

As evident from the Cloud Computing Architecture,  a Cloud User is highly abstracted from the way the Cloud Applications are delivered and implemented. This prevents proper information about Incident logging. So a ITIL service provider has to adopt the  Incident logging process to a Multi tenant, virtualized cloud computing environment versus a single tenant and physical server based service delivery. Again the Cloud Management platform plays a major role in resolution of the issues related with Virtual Machines.

Service Catalogue Management &  Request Fulfillment : While the ITIL itself is designed to be dynamic to provide Services on Demand using a Service Catalogue, in most cases especially for large organizations the initial set of services  that are initially designed or transitioned are fairly static. Most of the  day to day needs of the users have been satisfied with the 'Service Request' which are actually small changes  - low risk, frequently occuring, low cost etc.. However as of now Service Organizations have not fully adopted automated process to provision new services using a catalogue. SaaS (Software As A Service) , IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service) models of Cloud Computing expects your service organization to provide larger things as a service offering,  like an 'Application' or a 'Virtual' Server as a Service Request rather than a simple fulfillment requests from users.

Financial Management : This is one of the aspects of the Service Strategy  to calculate the Return on Investment of providing services. However most times Service offerings are delivered on a Fixed price model, where by the Services have been measured and charged  over a period of time by predicting on the service levels and number of users.  However organizations are not fully used to get charged on demand on usage or subscription basis. Entire metering and charging of service delivery will be changed on adoption of cloud computing model. Again there are multiple deployment models of  Cloud computing like 'Public Cloud', 'Private Cloud' and 'Hybrid Cloud', each of these models differs in the way the financial management is handled. This also leads to the concept of 'Utility Computing' which is the packaging of computing resources, such as computation and storage, as a metered service similar to a traditional public utility like electricity. This model is a paradigam shift from the fixed price model currently adopted by  most ITIL based service delivery scenarios.

As expalined in the start of the article, adoptiong ITIL process to a  Cloud Computing Scenario is a much larger topic and case by case analysis of service providers needs and business goals needs to  be done for tailoring the process. This article briefly touches some of the issues that needs to be considered towards a successful adoption of Cloud Computing within your organization.

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Srini has over 18 years of experience on transforming Information Technology systems to a service oriented platforms by best utilizing the investments on the existing Legacy Assets. He is currently working as a Senior Solution Architect for Hewlett Packard serving large enterprise customers. Srinivasan's concentration is Legacy modernization and data integration across enterprise and fitment to a service delivery model. His current concentration is on cloud computing towards service improvement and optimizing organization costs.

Srini is a cerified SOA Solution Designer, certified in Function Point from IFPUG and is also certified in most of the major enterprise platforms from IBM, Oracle, Sun and Microsoft.