Towards making Cloud services more consumable by enterprises

If you are a hard core network/system management person who has been very suspicious of all the ITIL/ITSM bullshit from the boss, and even more suspicious of the “Cloud” nonsense that occupies the interns while they should be monitoring the event console, then I have bad news for you: they are mating. Not the interns (as far as I know), I am talking about ITSM and the Cloud.

If, on the other hand, you are an ITSM and Cloud enthusiast who sees himself/herself leveraging all these nifty ITSM/BSM tools and shinny Cloud services to become the ultimate CIO, delivering unprecedented business value, compliance and IT efficiency from your iPhone at the beach, then you’ll see this marriage as good news, a sign that your move to Hawaii is approaching.

I am referring to the announcement by Rodrigo Flores that his company, newScale, has released a new product, newScale FrontOffice for Virtual Data Centers, to incorporate Cloud-based services in their IT Service Catalog.

This is not sexy but it’s the kind of support that some classes of enterprises will need in order to really make use of Cloud services. Eventually, Cloud providers are going to have to move their focus away from cool technology and developer evangelism towards making their services easily consumable by corporations. Otherwise they’ll be like an office supply store that doesn’t take American Express.

While the direction is very interesting I can’t comment on how much value this new product actually provides because the company seems to engage in anti-marketing activities. If you want to dig a bit deeper than the press release, you get redirected to this page which requires your info in order to download the “complimentary information brief”. The confirmation page promises an email “containing the information you requested within the next 30 minutes”. I thought that the info I requested was the brief. What I got instead was an email asking me to call them. I don’t know if it’s my unpronouncable last name of the in my email address that scares them (I’d guess the latter) but that seems like a lot of precautions for a “complimentary information brief”. Unless this is an attempt to grab the “Cloud” buzzword with little meat to back it up (not that anyone would do this, of course). Hopefully they’ll make more information publicly available when they get around to it.

[UPDATED 2009/2/25: Via Coté, I just saw what I consider supporting envidence, from Gartner that, once we’re out of the early adopter phase, Cloud firms will need to focus less on pleasing developers and more on pleasing IT people: “But my observation from client interactions is that cloud adoption in established, larger organizations (my typical client is $100m+ in revenue) is, and will be, driven by Operations, and not by Development.”]

[UPDATED 2009/3/3: I got the PDF brief, thanks newScale (Ken and Mark). Many of the benefits it describes assumes that there is a pretty robust automation/provisioning infrastructure to back it up, in addition to the Catalog itself. E.g. the Catalog alone will not allow you to “shorten the provisioning cycle time to minutes instead of months”. The brief lists adapter kits to VMWare/EC2 and more internal-minded tools (HP and BMC, presumable through their Opsware and BladeLogic acquisitions respectively). So on the “public cloud” side it’s EC2 for now, not surprisingly. Integration with many of the Cloud tools (like RightScale) could be tricky since these tools bundle a catalog with the automation engine. If we ever do get a useful ontology of Cloud services this catalog would be a natural user for it, when it expands to other services beyond EC2 and tries to help you compare them. I guess newSCale wouldn’t appreciate if I provided a direct link to the PDF, so go request it to see for yourself.]

[UPDATED 2009/3/23: Speaking of managing your IT systems from your cell phone at the beach: VMWare vCenter Mobile Access.]


Filed under Cloud Computing, Everything, Governance, IT Systems Mgmt, ITIL, Mgmt integration, Utility computing