Building Your Hybrid Cloud Service Management Plan

An important requirement for hybrid cloud service management is putting a plan in place, which involves understanding what cloud services you are introducing into your company and how they need to interact with your data center assets. Now, you have to make the determination about which services you need to control because they could impact the business and how you can effectively manage the combination of those resources.

Establishing objectives

The first priority is to determine what is most important to the consumers of cloud services whom you need to support. You need to ask, “What do I really want to achieve?” Remember that your service management plan is based on the service strategy and needs to support changing business conditions and customer expectations.

You need to specify what services your business offers and what the company needs to achieve your vision. When you know what your objectives are, you can assess your current service management capability around those particular goals. Then, you can find the gaps in your service management capability and develop a plan to deal with those gaps. It’s important to evaluate what you have if you expect to be able to locate and close the gaps and achieve your strategy.

Getting started with a cloud service management plan

Here are a few questions to get you started as you develop your service management strategy for the hybrid cloud:

  • Do you have a consistent way to manage assets across your public and private cloud environments as well as your internal environment?

  • Do you have a process for change and configuration that ensures that all members of the organization have reliable access to the cloud service configuration information they need to perform their responsibilities?

  • Can you ensure that business services created and maintained by one division are made available across other areas of your organization?

  • Have you developed a service catalog to help identify and govern the use of cloud services?

  • Can you monitor and measure the effect of your strategy on demands for security, storage, and hardware?

These questions should provide you with an understanding of the issues that you have to plan for with cloud management. You should begin by understanding the consumer or customer for your services. Therefore, cloud management’s objective is to provide a consistent and predictable level of service across all of the IT services you provide to consumers. If you wait until services are delivered to figure out service levels and other management issues, you’ve waited too long. If you start with the outcomes rather than how each individual component operates, you will be on your way to understanding how to plan for cloud management.

Keep in mind that how you manage cloud services will depend on what type of service provider you are. For example, service providers of public cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) will approach cloud service management very differently from an internal service provider of a private cloud. The cloud inside IT will invariably have to interact with public cloud services. However, no matter what type of service provider you might be, you have to make sure that there are consistent processes that ensure that changes in everything from configurations to code are managed consistently.

The cloud provider also has to make sure that it handles performance of the specific service being delivered as well as security, backup, data storage, scalability, speed of processing — just to name a few. This means that the IT organization has to understand the underlying services including what purpose they serve for the consumers within the organization and what the expectations are for performance, security, and scalability. At the end of the day, IT management needs to be armed with a holistic understanding of the elements of the cloud services used by the organization and the level of service required.

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