Tom Peruzzi's thoughts on digital, innovation, IT and operations

Ops Predictions 2011

Posted in general failures, ITSM, organizational, startup failures by opstakes on December 21, 2010

End of year is coming, time for review and predictions …

What we have seen this year is the emerging trend to try to move to the cloud. Why say try? Cause a lot of different lacks did delay decisions: lack of experience, lack of manageability, lack of security, lack of commodity, lack of portability and much more but the train cannot be stopped anymore. We will continue to see different diverse ways to the cloud, the aggressive one (we just do it), the one’s moving via private virtualization, the one’s doing outtasking to the cloud and the one’s not knowing that they are already in the cloud.

So what’s next? According to the analysts cloud is directly on the way to the phase of desilusion. Sounds bad but isn’t so. We now reach the working scene, the marketing whow is over and we can start working on a deep and permanent way. So think about it: cloud will become commodity in 2011, we will stop talking about who’s in the cloud or not, we will start just using it.

This leads to another trend for 2011: cloud operations. We did central operations, decentral operations, virtual operations, outsourced operations, outtasking and whatever, next is cloud operations. Maybe you will not take care on it but potentially you will have to think about how to operate your IT then parts of your IT are somewhere (you do not even know exactly the location, just the name/identifier of the cloud).

This leads to tons of aspects in terms of all ITSM processes, especially change mgmt (do you still own your cloud virtual environment … how to combine those releases …), incident, event and problem mgmt. (who manages what?), SL management and all others, with special focus on IT financials.

Next trend, partly invoked by ideas like DevOps is agile operations. The more agile the company, the more agile development the more event driven the IT. This leads to agile operations for the IT ops department. So how to do so?

Agility means being very flexible and self responsible within a certain frame/border. Agile operations mean being very reactive, fast and flexible within a fixed set of frameworks/standards to deliver prompt IT resources on a very $$based approach.

So agile operations relies on cloud operations and vice versa. In my understanding and strong believe the trend per se for 2011 should then be called

agile Ops operations

So what does this mean for you? Think about strong boundaries and frameworks married with a high level of ops automation. This superset is then offered to your company / development enabling them to use ops resources on demand and cost sensitive. You as the ops entity do all the cloud stuff either private, hybrid or public within your defined subset to deliver on a regular and flexible bases predictable IT.
For me this sounds reasonable good. Remember, I’m an ops man … doing agile ops operations even means you create your ops platform (DevOps), you keep the releases within your responsibility but you stop from reacting and being the holy grail nobody knows about within your company. Ops get’s public, viable and business enabling to the company! This is our all time goal and this must be the goal for all of us.

We will see what happens exactly in 2011, hopefully my predictions comes to truth by 80 %.

Paradigms change – and you?

Posted in organizational, technical by opstakes on November 15, 2010

Paradigms intend to change after a (long) while and if so it may be disruptive. Disruptive … today this is a synonym for cloud computing? Anybody out there still willing to hear that word cloud? As we know from market research we have reached the peak of the cloud hype and will go over to the desillusion phase. As we know from market, this phase is the one there business is going over from hype to business-as-usual, concepts are already on the market, early-adopters are on the solution and more than “first experience” is reached by the company. This is a very important phase because

  • market has learned the working concepts
  • marketing is up and running in a very efficient way
  • business knows wording and more or less understands main USPs

So everybody out there knows what’s going on despite your IT organization? No, they even heard the word but for them, cloud computing is not “just another machine” it is 100% new way of working, especially for operations!

Doing so we often get the question on how to make that change happen? There is no real answer, maybe it is more a technical issue, more an organizational, more a cultural one but all time a mixture of all of them. And don’t underestimate the power of politics within the organization. Maybe some of the business-guys like to see how internal operations is loosing more and more of their former “importance”?!

What we see right now is that you – as operations – need some special phases:

  • Phase 1: Know your enemy: Understand the concepts, understand their pros and cons and how to best interact and interface with those methodologies
  • Phase 2: Architect YOUR solution based on your enemies one: Build your operational framework upon those solutions, make yourself (major and/or important) part of that concept and drive that concept, act as a driver, not a defender!
  • Phase 3: Here we go!: You have reached your goal, business supports you, you are a brave man/woman being able to change, you are now a challenger, not a defender, you are on the edge of technology. Now do the change and make it happen
  • Phase 4: Keep on running!: After the change is before the change. You did your project very good now it is time to let things run the way you want them to be. But: Market is much larger than you and your department so keep on staying on the market and on trends. You don’t need to be an early-adopter, you need to be an early-understander! Whenever the models change, your mindset should change too.

This 4 Phase methodology is neither new nor high intellectual brainwork but it can help you staying on the market, acting as a real business value driver within your organization and it potentially helps you to get the ability to reflect your organization and act based on that findings.

Paradigms changing is all time hard to understand, to oversee and to properly react. Stay informed and accept that parts of your organization may not follow you. Not all people are right for all the time and phases of an organization, this is normal business living. You should communicate very often and act very transparent to help your organization going with you, potentially this is your personal paradigm change?

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cloud reloaded

Posted in financial, startup failures, technical by opstakes on October 7, 2010

I had the chance to present some general thoughts on cloud computing on an aicooma and Microsoft event yesterday.
While being in general a pro cloud geek especially for operations I got some more hints to cover:

  • scrum & cloud really cooperate well on a very high level (aicooma will present some whitepaper regarding that topic soon)
  • the deeper you look at all potential hidden costs the less interesting a cloud offer looks like in the first, but keep in mind that you always have to take care on a service lifecycle perspective
  • Moving from Managed Services to a real cloud offering is quite hard, on the one hand side for the moving organization to get an understanding and feeling for the cloud, on the other hand side for the partner, right now nearly all major outsourcing parties claim to offer cloud but the contract looks quite different afterwards …
  • Even cloud vendors now tell the truth: a cloud will never ever fit into each setup

Dealing with that topics it shows that there is still some FUD in regarding how cloud computing could help me, my department my organization and whether it fits or not. A quite good way would be like I do in general:

  1. Get your service catalogue and your service portfolio up
  2. Include lifecycle infos into portfolio (time of reinvest …)
  3. take the 5 out where reinvest should occur within next 18 months
  4. have a very deep look (organizational, technical, financial) on those 5
  5. find a potential cloud substitute
  6. compare in depth

After doing this once or twice it’s getting quite easy to deal with, it is not that much work as it looks like in the beginning but it offers you a very transparent view on your portfolio and on the potential of cloud offerings being out and stable right now, more or less it demystifies cloud offerings and makes them compareable to your internal or external managed services like comparing apples with apples, and that’s the goal, nothing about emotions, coolness or hype, realistic and transparent decision taking is king.

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The Agility stuff

Posted in general failures, startup failures by opstakes on September 23, 2010

Whenever we hear terms like agility, scrum, XP, KanBan or whatever most people think like “This is cool development and innovation stuff, ops doesn’t have to care on that” NOT TRUE!!!

Whenever you hear something about a new development methodology, framework or anything else be prepared, changing developments life will change your interfaces hence your operational life too!

And better to act on interfaces than reacting. We currently do a lot of investigation on cloud, agile and how it changes our ops life but to be honest, agility drives the operational need for clouds.

Think about the following: You best act with scrum teams if you show them your boarders and limitations (aka frameworks, standards, tec. recommendations) and act as an active stakeholder with and within the scrum team. The better the teams will be, the more they will need agile resources from your ops department. Flexibility or agility can be achieved by a bunch of technologies and with different investment scenarios but one which probably fits best is reacting with cloud computing resources or highly available virtual resources (hence highly automated and “near cloud”) and provide proper feedback to the agile teams.
Doing so you will get a very high throughput within your IT organization, tons of congratulations as you were one of the very rare operators thinking in business terms and needs and you will get a very effective and efficient ops team with strict and accepted boarders. The better and clearer they are, the better your automatisation is, the better agility is supported and the better feedback will be.
If not, do what you have to do with such developers 😉
I will keep on writing about agility and cloud operations as I personally believe this is the way we will operate the next years long.

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all time cloud

Posted in general failures, KnowHow, startup failures, technical by opstakes on July 20, 2010

I stop writing about operational failures only, potentially this blog will go on to write about “hot” topics within IT operations. It will still stay focused on operations, as I am an ops guy.

Good reason for telling, why I stopped writing for the last weeks: I wondered where cloud computing will go to!

We do quite a lot of different cloud projects and right now it seems that either there is no space left to deal with clouds or on the other hand side there is still a lack of experience out there on all sides of business. This is just a short draft about my ongoing thoughts, discussion welcome!

Cloud topics on business side:

why do we still believe, that it is as easy as writtin in the prospect? Haven’t we learned from all former proposed functionality? Yepp there is high potential to get it done and delivered in a smarter and more cost sensitive way, but at what risk and cost? And how does operations look like afterwards?

Cloud topics on IT side:

Clouds is nothing we can pass by. Clouds have to be worked with, IT has to understand pros and cons of clouds and how to live with them for the next decade. Clouds are neither friends nor enemies, they are a new way of delivering services to customers, more service based than ever before. Clouds are not VMWare and are not xen or kvm, clouds are a business case thou IT has to understand business and business methodology otherwise they will deliver virtualization. Not bad at all but only a few percent of cloud power.

As IT I would strongly recommend not to put to much pressure on compliance, legal and data security. There exist several organisations covering that topic and it is max. a question of weeks or months to get it fully done. Secondly there are already SAS70 ready solutions out there and other standards are met too, if you cover that topic it is OK, cause it is a risk, but nothing more. Using compliance as IT against cloud will mark you as the one securing your own office place …

Cloud topics on operations side:

clouds mean to no longer be the prime operations partner. To be honest, then thinking about all the complexity getting more and more clouds can even help you reducing YOUR complexity and getting things done. Yeah, number of systems will potentially go down, lot will be delivered out of cloud, partly you will act as an cloud offer. BUT, this is good news, you can transform yourself from an 24/7 operator to a platform architect handling tons of tons of tons of different systems without dealing with the day2day problems, they are within the cloud handeled by others 🙂

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Deliver and own services

Posted in general failures, organizational, technical by opstakes on February 1, 2010

Mostly technicians seem to have an incredible understanding about service delivery. For them this means that they own and control the whole delivery chain, beginning by each stored bit and byte going over to the databases, the apps, the network, the associated (and hopefully existing) security, the frontend, the user training and and and … and if possible please forget documentation, we know what we do 🙂

But world changes, even now we stand on another step forward within a realy service oriented, clouded environment and the more you think about clouds, the more you have to dematerialize service delivery. It is not a bunch of servers connected with a bunch of network devices, secured with a bunch of security appliances which creates the service, the service is much more and the goal of modern IT should not be to deliver hardware-related stuff to non IT staff. For them IT does not matter (btw. thanks to the great book, Nicolas Carr) they just want to use. And non IT thinks different, they think – as we intend to say – emotional not rational about IT; either it works appropriate and the service desk is OK or it is not sufficient delivered. And they think in terms of economy.

An IT service delivered to the non IT people should be competitive in terms of service and pricing and it should be interoperable and portable. As we know, lots of offers out their try to do so and making a deeper view into it offers incredible stuff …

And what happens now? All the cloud offers, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, internal and external, private, enterprise or public, shortly the clouds offer new innovative services with much more speed, power, resources and economies of scale.

Why should I continue maintaining my own hardware, software … if I do commodity stuff? It will be more expensive, more to integrate, more to maintain … so my resources are secured but nobody knows for how long.

Right now there exist only a few real issues for not going to a cloud:

  • cloud to cloud data exchange is still lacking true interoperable and useable security
  • the right size, if you have reached a size where you can gain profit from the top discounts too the gap within money will be closed.
  • Real-Time, if you need Real Time you will have to build it for yourself (now)
  • compliance: potentially, especially in the financial industry you will not be allowed to move your user data out of the computing country.

So the goal or mission of the IT of the (near) future will be, to aggregate the service delivery which is spread over the world. The IT will take care of

  • interoperability
  • portability
  • first level
  • combined service catalogue
  • economics

If so, what should you change today? Yes maybe ITIL, but ITIL should be no more than it is, a goo practice. Use, what’s useable for you but think about your service definition and how to get that deep into the organization that you know which IT is needed and why. Acting as an account manager and understanding the own company as the key customer would potentially help. Leave IT behind, think in solutions and services and deliver them in time and with appropriate objectives (nobody asks who delivers, so if it looks like you but it comes trom anywhere else ….)

So please start thinking about the tremendous change what will happen in the near future and don’t repeat the last 20 years standard opstake: you can’t deliver and own all services within a more and more complex IT world.

To cloud or not to cloud …

Posted in startup failures, technical by opstakes on November 12, 2009

…. that’s the question

I am not intended to talk about the general facts about clouds, cost topics and the different types (PaaS, IaaS, …) And I’m too not interested in referring about whether an offer is SaaS or Cloud or not. My topic is much more operational and what I want to show you is that a cloud as a private or public cloud does not solve all your problems as you potentially intended to do so.

If talking about PaaS/IaaS a cloud is nothing more than another type of infrastructure provisioning, nothing more, nothing less. You still lack support for your application and in terms of public clouds you will not be enabled that easy to run a loadbalancer or other resilient stuff that easy.

Despite the fact that all major cloud computing offers try to declare their cloud as save, unlimited, borderless resilient and (d)dos-attack safe, we still know that Murphy exists. Talking to vendors today talking about resilience mostly ends up by them telling ungecky sentences like “a cloud can’t fail …”

So if you are aware of potential risks and if you already know how to deploy your app(s) in your favorite inhouse or external cloud you should still think about how operations changes by using a cloud? Be aware of topics like:

  • how about backup/archiv?
  • am I still able to fulfill all my current and foreseeable compliance stuff and how?
  • how will my release process, my associated toolbox and my service support process change?
  • Is it a strategic or an economic value and how to live with?
  • Is my ops platform able to run in the cloud?
  • Is there any benefit from using a cloud or is my app still missing some major advantages?
  • Do my vendors and their license support their app in the cloud? Is the licence cloud-enabled?
  • Do I need special hardware?

The main topic I see right now is that we all talk about how cool it would be and how nice and easy everything should look like in the cloud but I will only talk about Operations and there are still a bunch of unanswered questions. So please don’t say yes or no to a cloud because of style or your personal relation to the vendor, think about the questions above and if you can easily answer all those you should really think about running a cloud.

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