People and Processes
This is the fourth and last post in a series of articles explaining how to build the best in class private cloud. The first post gave an overview of what you need to build a private cloud. The following posts dived deeper into the topics of a programmable infrastructure and cloud management platforms, respectively. Now we will be exploring why people and processes need to be considered as well.
Changing the way how an IT department works is the hardest part of the journey to a private cloud. In the must-read book The Phoenix Project those changes get implemented and work wonders. But the driver to those changes was the immediate threat of bankruptcy for the company. Most other companies are doing ok, so changes happen slowly if at all. You need to align people on all levels when you want to implement innovations like a private cloud.
The final answer depends on each IT department’s specific situation. I will do some brainstorming here and share some stories why it is important to consider team structure and process changes.
The Cloud Team
A common piece of advice is that you need to create a cloud overlay team, because compute, storage and network silos need to collaborate much closer. Some call it a Cloud Center of Excellence, or Cloud CoE. But instead of breaking through the silo walls I sometimes find that the cloud team is yet another new silo not linked to the other silos, and all the other teams keep doing their old work like before. It can actually introduce even more communication overhead. So watch out for this.
Agility is a key outcome of a private cloud. A good way to measure this is the time from an order received until the new IT service is delivered and fully functional. Once you automated the infrastructure you can do it in minutes. But too often we find manual processes for security rule updates, or IP range assignments, or budget approvals slowing down the delivery by weeks. You have all the right tools to build a private cloud, but the outcome is the same old rigid IT model if you do not adjust your processes and get rid of your manual approval steps.
This is why shadow IT and public clouds are so successful. The business or developers get IT resources without all the manual approval steps in minutes. Instead of blocking this option I believe IT should better provide alternatives which are appealing to business.
So do make sure your processes and team structures are adjusted accordingly.
Putting It All Together
The best in class private cloud allows rapid service delivery and is cost efficient. To build this you need to adjust your processes, eliminate manual steps and automate. **Automation works best on a programmable software defined infrastructure.** I introduced VMware Cloud Foundation as an option to provide it this an easy way with less effort and less risk.
A comprehensive Cloud Management Platform sits on top of the infrastructure and help operating and automating IT service delivery, and it provides financial insights so the best options can be presented to business in a transparent way. VMware vRealize Suite is built to provide this in the best way for the cloud.
Always have your goals in sight. How do you measure the success of your cloud deployment? Always test your outcomes against the business expectations of higher agility and lower cost on a regular basis.