Around HP, we often think of cloud as being automation on steroids. To the business user, a cloud service brokerage is the portal where they can order IT services. It’s really an abstraction layer, because end users shouldn’t have to see or select all the details about IP addresses, versions of Linux, network portal, etc. They select a certain level of service based on performance and/or availability and then get an email when it’s ready.
But for IT organizations, it’s on the backend where a lot of the magic really takes place, as the services are automatically provisioned, applications are automatically set up, changes get made automatically and when the business user no longer needs the service, it’s all automatically shut down.
Implementing that much automation does not happen overnight. So where do you start?
First tasks, then processes
The recommended approach is to start with task-based automation projects, such as provisioning network ports, servers and storage. These are routine manual tasks and unless they are automated, they will inhibit your IT teams’ ability to scale with cloud services. It’s essential that as IT transforms into a cloud service broker, lifecycle management is performed in a highly repeatable and consistent fashion, and automating tasks is the first step.
Once automated, those tasks can then be collected into automated process workflows, such as remediation, compliance, change management and application deployment. An administrator should only need to monitor these processes.
With this foundation of task and process automation in place, the cloud service broker model can then be adopted more successfully by essentially extending the benefits of automation to the business user.
In order to get the most benefit, especially where business users experience faster service and the business can achieve faster time-to-market, organizations need to have an end-to-end view across IT, which is why it’s important to develop a strategic plan that integrates with overall IT strategy.
Providing cloud services typically offer some benefits of automation in the infrastructure layer, for storage and servers. With the cloud service broker model, organizations automate up the stack, including OS deployment, patch management and application management.
But that doesn’t mean IT has to make a significant up-front investment in the entire stack. With the right cloud platform and operations management tools, organizations can start small, using an affordable building block approach that allows them to begin automating and brokering cloud services and scale over time.
As a cloud service broker, your IT organization should strive to ensure flexibility and heterogeneity, with open and extensible architecture for multi-hypervisor, multi-vendor support that allows it the choice to use a hybrid of both cloud services and traditional IT, and the ability to use APIs to build their own applications and tools where necessary.
In the next post, I will look at what you need to consider when selecting what cloud services to offer.
Learn more about HP Cloud Management
Find out how HP Cloud Management provides support for application, platform and infrastructure services with cloud brokering and heterogeneous environments for a flexible foundation for hybrid clouds today and in the future. Visit www.hp.com/go/cloudmanagement.