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Don't get fired over the cloud

Posted on Monday, January 09, 2012 | No Comments

An actual paper magazine arrived via snail mail today, Datacenter Dynamics Focus. Of course it was the August/September issue so those snails are really slow these days. I was flipping through the pages and the article "Don't get fired over the Cloud" caught my attention.

The premise of the article is probably summed up by this section entitle "The Danger in Change".

But here’s the rub: “You will be fired as a CIO if you don’t know where things are running. You will be fired if something goes down and you don’t know about it. If you are a CIO and some of your apps are running on Amazon and you don’t know about it then your costs are running out of control. If they are running a mission-critical app and it gets breached, you will get fired.” 
Much of this comes down to service management and security. “Those horizontals must traverse this fragmented world of choice. Service management in the New World Order changes dramatically,” Karolczak says. “In the Cloud you had better know which applications are in the Cloud and which cloud they sit on. One of the delusions of the Cloud is that you have unlimited bursts of separation. But you can’t, in most situations, separate the apps from the Cloud.”
Really, is this a little bit of Cloud washing? Could we not say "Don't get fired over stupidity" rather than over Cloud? Why target out Cloud? If your app goes down it does not matter if its running internally or externally, thats an implementation thing. If your SLA is that it can't go down and you don't implement it in a way that achieves that then your are in trouble, Cloud or not. The costs running out of control is nothing that new either, we have being living with virtual sprawl within the data centre for a few years and the hidden cost impacts it can create.

The statement is valid thought that "much of this comes down to service management". Thats really the point here. If you are not managing your environment, whatever it is, then thats where these issues can creep in and give you pain.

What the CIO needs to be focusing, in order to not get fired, are two things as they adopt Cloud.

First, is the integration into the service management infrastructure as the article mentioned. In order to adopt Cloud services a review of your SM implementation will be required. For example you might need to work through your ITIL practices ensuring that you have a method of delivering each function. Some functions might be undertaken by the provider and this should be documented. You will end up getting into the details such as what additional CI records you will need in your CMDB to track services which reside within various Cloud providers.

Second, is educating your technical teams on Cloud architectures and implementations. Cloud might be existing technologies integrated and sold in a different way but there is a lot to learn about how to best utilise various providers Cloud services. IT teams have had years of practice at building and operating technologies in a manner that will not get them fired. However I often see a lot of assumptions and miss understanding of how various Cloud services work which result in implementation gaps that do have the potential to get you fired. IT teams need to skill up through training or hiring.

Of course there is nothing new under the sun here, as IT professionals we have been dealing with these issues as information technology has evolved over the decades. Just think about our journey through virtualization over the last 5 years. Virtualization effected many of these areas as well, but these days you are more likely to get fired for not virtualising.


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