Welcome!

Recurring Revenue Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Xenia von Wedel

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

You Can't Have IT as a Service Until IT Has Infrastructure as a Service

The underlying premise of delivering IT “as a service” is that the services exist to be delivered in the first place

The underlying premise of delivering information technology “as a service” is that the services exist to be delivered in the first place.

Oh, it’s on now. IT has been served with a declaration of intent and that is to eliminate IT and its associated bottlenecks that are apparently at the heart of a long application deployment lifecycle. Ignoring reality, the concept of IT as a Service in many ways is well-suited to solving both issues (real and perceived) on the business and the IT sides of the house. By making the acquisition and deployment of server infrastructure a self-service process, IT abrogates responsibility for deploying applications. It means if a project is late, business stakeholders can no longer point to the easy scapegoat of IT and must accept accountability.

Or does it?

WHAT does “IT as a SERVICE” MEAN ANYWAY?

We can’t really answer that question until we understand what all this “IT as a Service” hype is about, can we?

The way tech journalists report on “IT as a Service” and its underlying business drivers you’d think the concept is essentially centered on the elimination of IT in general. That’s not the case, not really. On the surface it appears to be, but appearances are only skin deep. What businesses want is a faster provisioning cycle across IT: access, server infrastructure, applications, data. They want “push-button IT”, they want IT as a vending machine with a cornucopia of services available for their use with as little human interaction as possible.

What that all boils down is this: the business stakeholders want efficiency of process.

Eric Knorr of InfoWorld summed it well when he recently wrote in “What the ‘private cloud’ really means”:

blockquote Nonetheless, the model of providing commodity services on top of pooled, well-managed virtual resources has legs, because it has the potential to take a big chunk of cost and menial labor out of the IT equation. The lights in the data center will never go out. The drive for greater efficiency, though, has had a dozen names in the history of IT, and the private cloud just happens to be the latest one.

In reality all we’re talking about with “IT as a Service” really is private cloud, but it appears that “IT as a Service” has a strong(er) set of legs upon which to stand primarily because purists and pundits prefer to distinguish between the two. So be it, what you call it is not nearly as important as what it does – or is intended to do.

Interestingly enough, VMware made a huge push for “IT as a Service” at VMworld last month and, in conjunction with that, released a number of product offerings to support the vision of “IT as a Service.” But while there was much brouhaha regarding the flexibility of a virtualized infrastructure there was very little to support the longer vision of “IT as a Service.” It was more “IT as a Bunch of Virtual Machines and Provisioning Services” than anything else. Now, that’s not to say that virtualization of infrastructure doesn’t enable “IT as a Service”; it does in the sense that it makes one piece of the overall concept possible: self-service provisioning. But it imagedoes not in any way, shape or form assist in the much larger and complex task of actually enabling the services that need to be provisioned. Even the integration across the application delivery network with the core server infrastructure provisioning services – so necessary to accomplish something like live cloudbursting on-demand – relies upon virtualization only for the server/application resources. The integration to instruct and integrate the application delivery network is accomplished via services, via an API, and whether the underlying form-factor is virtual or iron is completely irrelevant.

IT as a SERVICE REALLY MEANS a SERVICE-ORIENTED OPERATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that what we’re really doing here is applying the principles of SOA to IT and departmental function. Yeah, I said that. Again.

Take a close look at this diagram and tell me what you see. No, never mind, I’ll tell you what I see: a set of service across the entire IT infrastructure landscape that, when integrated together, form a holistic application deployment and delivery architecture. A service-oriented architecture. And what this whole “IT as a Service” thing is about is really offering up operational processes as a service to business folks. Just as SOA was meant to encapsulate business functions as services when it’s IT being pushed into the service-oriented mold you get operational functions as services: provisioning, metering, migration, scalability.

It’s Infrastructure as a Service, when you get down to it.

In order for IT to be a push-button, self-service, never-talk-to-the-geeks-in-the-basement again organization (which admittedly looks just as good from the other side as a never-talk-to-the-overly-demanding-business-folks again organization) IT not only has to enable provisioning of compute resources suitable for automated billing and management, but it also has to make available the rest of the infrastructure as services that can be (1) provisioned just as easily, (2) managed uniformly, and (3) integrated with some sort of human-readable/configurable policy creation tool that can translate business language, a la “make it faster”, into something that can actually be implemented in the infrastructure, a la “apply an application acceleration policy”. I’m simplifying, of course, but ultimately we really do want it imagethat simply, don’t we? We’ll never get there if we don’t have the services available in the first place.

Sound familiar, SOA architects? Business analysts? It should. A complete application deployment consists of a set of dynamic services that can be provisioned in conjunction with application resources that provide for a unified “application” that is fast, reliable, and secure. A composite “application” that is essentially a mash-up comprised of infrastructure services that enforce application specific policies to meet the requirements of the business stakeholder.

It’s SOA. Pure and simple. And while rapid provisioning is made easier by virtualization of those components, it’s not a necessity. What’s necessary is that the components provide for and are managed through services. Remember, there’s no magical fairy dust that goes along with the hardware/software –> virtual network appliance transformation that suddenly springs forth a set of services like a freaking giant beanstalk out of a magic bean. The components must be enabled to both be and provide services and from those the components can be deployed, configured, integrated, and managed as a service.

WITHOUT the SERVICES IT IS IT as USUAL

If the only services available in this new “IT as a Service” paradigm are provisioning and metering and possibly migration, then IT as a Service does not actually exist. What happens then is the angst of the business regarding the lengthy acquisition cycles for compute resources simply becomes focused on the next phase of the deployment – the network, or the security, or the application delivery components. And as each set of components is servified and made available in the Burger King IT Infrastructure menu, the business will turn its baleful eye on the next set of components..and the next…and the next.

Until there exists an end-to-end set of services for deploying, managing, and migrating applications, “IT as a Service” will not truly exist and the role of IT will remain largely the same – manual configuration, integration, and management of a large and varied set of infrastructure components.


Related blogs & articles:

Follow me on Twitter View Lori's profile on SlideShare friendfeed icon_facebook

AddThis Feed Button Bookmark and Share

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.