This is a really well-written post from George Gilbert and Juergen Urbanski of TechAlpha. The point made is that our ability to innovate in the cloud is not constrained by available technology, but by cumbersome IT service delivery models and processes. While on the surface this may not sound like groundbreaking analysis, the depth to which Gilbert and Urbanski explain the issue allows us to conceptually separate the underlying costs of managing infrastructure versus what we have accepted as the predominant value proposition of cloud computing – which is that infrastructure is standardized and commodified, therefore no longer necessary in the context of procuring and provisioning applications. This is an important distinction, because infrastructure is not just going to go away…and IT operations is the biggest bottleneck currently keeping organizations from fully embracing the power of the cloud and leveraging new technology for business growth. And far from simply being a descriptive overview of such challenges, the authors also give a clear prescriptive vision of some strategies that can be employed to evolve the IT service delivery model to align it with the exponential curve of technology improvement.
Three key points:
- Moore’s Law has enabled new applications by powering computing on an exponential price/performance curve. But increasingly, the proliferation of a new generation of large-scale applications is being constrained by another price/performance curve that hasn’t shown much improvement: IT operations and the cost of delivery.
- To [Timothy Chou, ex-president of Oracle OnDemand], the key promise of the cloud is to reduce the cost of delivering applications by improving IT operations.
- IT administrators have traditionally organized themselves into server, storage, network and application tribes. Dramatically reducing the cost of IT operations will require unprecedented levels of standardization, specialization and automation across these traditional administrative silos.