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Today’s smartphones frequently offer larger screens with smaller bezels. Their manufacturers claim an uninterrupted view of the world. Conceptually, this “unboxing” is exactly what’s needed to manage dynamic infrastructure and services.
Looking back for a moment, service delivery used to happen at a slower pace. IT teams would spend a lot of time designing services, getting the hardware to run them and finally bringing them into a long-running steady state with a bit of assurance tagged on. Combined with how businesses structured themselves, this approach resulted in pronounced silos of IT, network, storage and app management. Staffing, procedures and tooling were managed within those silos, often only integrated by phone calls between teams. Still, at least we knew what had to be managed within those silos and their discontinuous views of the world.
Then, along came the great enablers of modern services: virtualization, containerization, cloud services and line-of-business autonomy. Now the teams in those silos faces some problems:
- Programmatic control, automation and ease of choice mean that infrastructure, services or tooling can be very unpredictable due to things like autoscaling. How can operations teams be confident and certain that they’re working on the right view of the world if it can change in a heartbeat?
- The ability to consume traditionally specialized workloads, such as network or storage, in new ways means that those siloed teams may be insufficient to fully manage such services given their additional IT dependencies. One network service provider I spoke to put it this way: “To our network SMEs, virtual routers look no different to their physical counterparts, but they can behave very differently when under load. Which means getting the IT guys involved as the network team doesn’t understand IT virtualization.” The net result is that organizations are having to restructure their operations teams.
- Service delivery schedules are greatly compressed because the time from conception to having to manage a service is greatly reduced. Assurance must be integral to the design and implementation of a service as a lack of it cannot be an inhibitor to rapid service delivery. Inline management Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) are a good example of how assurance can be woven into the fabric of a service:
Does your environment look like this?
Operations teams now have additional issues to contend with: cross-pollination of infrastructure and workload, increased sets of dependencies and unpredictable behavior and dilution of tribal knowledge. Coupled all of this with pressure from the business to restructure their teams and improve collaboration. Therefore there’s a great need for trustworthy context and surety across silos even when developers or change agents in the environment are not keeping operations in the loop.
In my next blog post, I’ll look at what an unboxed and uninterrupted view needs.
If you’re interested in learning more about IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager and how it can deliver an unboxed view, check out this blog post and this analyst report.