ITSM in The Cloud: Users Flexibility, Streamlining Ops and What is Still Missing

Aug 2 2015 | by Vittaly Tavor

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IT service management (ITSM) refers to all activities directed by policies that are organized and structured in processes. In other words, IT services that may be purchased, allocated, launched or used. The ITSM principles haven’t changed with the introduction of the cloud, however, methods and capabilities have helped enterprise IT continue to implement ITSM while removing cumbersome traditional IT processes.

Automating Service Provisioning

IT services are launched based on enterprise application service catalogs. These were formatted as curated collections used to display and describe all services that are available to users, including costs and the authorization process required to provision a service. When looking back to traditional IT, users had to manually follow a mandatory lengthy authorization procedure before being able to launch a service or obtain access to a resource.

Pic 1: Traditional Downsides of ITSM
See the drawbacks of ITSM
Resource: 8 Steps to Modern Service Management

Once IT organizations moved to the cloud, a whole lot changed in regards to ITSM implementation methods. The cloud allows enterprise IT to streamline service and resource provisioning to users while controlling and managing automation to enhance operations. Automation removes the cumbersome authorization processes mentioned above, and helps enterprise IT form into a service broker.

The Cost of a Service in The Cloud

Traditionally, measuring the cost of service utilization was a challenge. Due to concurrent costs that were not directly attributable to a service itself, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the price according to usage. Costs incurred via cloud services are now (at least theoretically) aligned with demand. This new alignment is enabled by the fact that everything in the cloud is measurable. Metering resources allows you to be best informed of user service or resource usage.

What’s Missing in ITSM?

The price of a certain IT service must be listed for showback or chargeback purposes, whether in a service catalog or elsewhere. Resources allocated to a service are included in the cost of the service, however, actual utilization costs are not. When launching virtual machines, you pay per allocation and not, for example, per CPU utilization with most models. When launching an instance in a public cloud, the cloud provider isn’t really concerned if you use the instance or not. The same goes for enterprise IT which can be related to as an internal cloud vendor. Today, while pricing still needs to be broken down into more granular units for clarity, the top level cost of what you are paying to your provider is evident.

Final Note

ITSM deals with the lifecycle of a service. This includes the service’s definition, request, authorization, creation, launch, use and shut down. The same topics are applicable when discussing a service in the cloud. With the introduction of the cloud, building an enterprise service catalog is much easier and more effective with enhanced agility, self-service provisioning and resource orchestration. Ultimately, enterprise IT benefits from transparency across all of its systems with the flexibility and speed that users expect.

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