With the introduction of Virtualization and Cloud Computing over the past 5-10 years CIOs have a growing number of options for how they provide IT services to their users. Each of these options are viable for specific situations and use cases. With this in mind, progressive CIO’s are actively taking advantage of these options to develop a Hybrid IT model encompassing on premise dedicated, shared and private Cloud services combined with colocation/hosting and Public Cloud services.
The trick, when mastered, is to ensure that each application or IT service is aligned and optimized to the appropriate delivery option. This blog will provide initial guidance as to how to go about aligning the services, applications and workloads to the best delivery model across a Hybrid IT environment.
Delivery Models for Hybrid IT
Let’s start with the delivery options. It’s interesting to note that each of these IT delivery options are actively being used across most fortune 500 companies today. These are:
Dedicated Internal IT Deploy internal IT infrastructure and applications dedicated to specific workloads.
Shared Internal IT Develop and deploy shared IT infrastructure supporting multiple applications and workloads.
Internal Private Cloud Extend their shared IT platform to offer a self-service catalog of Services and/or workloads.
External Hosting/Colocation Procure hosting and/or colocation services from third party outsourcers or services providers.
Public Cloud IaaS Procure services from a Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Provider.
Public Cloud PaaS Procure services from a shared application development and deployment platform.
Public Cloud SaaS Procure services from a software as a service provider.
Positioning Services, Applications and Workloads
Before we can begin aligning each service, application or workload to the appropriate Delivery model it’s important to define each of these items. Most people are very familiar with the concept of an Application. I’ll skip this for now. Let’s spend time reviewing Service and Workload. Two terms that can be very confusing. For the definition of a Service I’ll refer to ITIL (The IT Infrastructure Library v2011). The ITIL definition of Service is:
A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks. The term ‘service’ is sometimes used as a synonym for core service, IT service or service package.
Does this make it clearer? Maybe – maybe not – For me, a service is the completion of a set of tasks by a provider to provide value to a user or customer. Sometimes this service is done for a fee – sometimes it’s done for free. It depends on the business model or situation. An example service is: Provision my Human Resources Application.
For Workloads – this is another confusing term. Here’s what ITIL has to say:
The resources required to deliver an identifiable part of an IT service. Workloads may be categorized by users, groups of users, or functions within the IT service. This is used to assist in analysing and managing the capacity, performance and utilization of configuration items and IT services. The term is sometimes used as a synonym for throughput.
In many ways this is another cryptic term – for me, a workload is a collection of applications and technologies used to provide a specific function, activity or output for users that is measured from a capacity, performance and or utilization level. An example being: HR Database for a Human Resources Application.