Preparing for Your Private Cloud, Part IV: IT Industrialization and Building a Cloud Factory

Cloud Computing3 minutes readOct 20th, 2011

Today, the pressures on IT to perform are enormous. IT has become a critical factor in business innovation and differentiation. How quickly can your IT department respond to new requests? If it takes IT weeks or months to provision a new server or service, will the business miss opportunities – will dollars or customers fly out the window?

When Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile, he revolutionized the car industry. Up to that point, cars were hand assembled – a slow, labor-intensive and expensive process that was prone to variations in quality. Although beautiful cars were often the result, the cost of purchasing an automobile was out of the reach of most consumers. As a result, Henry Ford made a deep commitment to systematically lowering costs and speeding throughput by using an assembly line to make cars affordable to the general public. So he moved car production from being a craft to mass production as an industry.

The same concepts can be applied to providing new or changed IT services. Standardization is the key to reducing cycle time and improving quality. Repeatability will let you rapidly, predictably provision new IT services. Measurement, monitoring and continual improvement help cut the fat out of IT services and improve service quality.

Properly applied, a private cloud provides an excellent platform for industrializing IT services. Resources are shared among customers and users, so you can keep the infrastructure at a high rate of utilization and reduce wasted cycles and investments by taking advantage of cloud elasticity. Provisioning new IT services can be done very quickly through automation, minimizing repeated manual work. You can monitor and measure the usage patterns in a private cloud with relative ease. And chargeback tools can help you understand what it costs to run your private cloud, by service and by resource.

To industrialize your IT services using a private cloud, I recommend using an iterative approach that I like to call a Cloud Factory:

  • Establish a process for cataloging IT services and determining which can be moved to the private cloud. A matrix that maps services and their underpinning applications against a decision model is a good approach.
  • Create automation for moving existing IT services to your private cloud. This will significantly reduce manual effort. This entails using scripts or more sophisticated tools such as runbook automation.
  • Automate self-provisioning in your private cloud. Monitoring and reporting on service usage and quality should be automatically enabled for each new service instance.
  • Determine cost for each incident related to the services you provide from your private cloud. This will help you make better process enhancement decisions based on sound financial data.
  • Use proactive Problem Management to spot trends and reduce the rate of future incidents. Problem Management automation and analysis tools can help reduce cycle time for instituting incident prevention and risk mitigation.
  • Establish a lifecycle of continual service improvement to capture lessons learned and re-use best practices. Regularly examine your reporting and results to see what you can improve where, and to prioritize process improvements.

Applying the concept of IT Industrialization to private cloud deployment and management can help IT provide predictable, cost-effective services, managed through a lifecycle of continual process improvement to optimize IT services. This helps drive the fat out of processes to increase resource efficiency, reduce costs and speed deployment while ensuring service quality. Industrializing IT by applying the concept of a Cloud Factory will help support your progression toward a continually optimized Data Center.

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