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Why do I have to go to iTunes and Amazon's music store to see who has the lower price on a song I want to buy before I purchase it? To be honest, I don't care which store I buy it from - I just want it at the best price, and I want it to download seamlessly into my music library and obey my naming and organizational conventions.

 

This is an open plea for someone to build that app for me. Not a price comparison app, those still require me to make decisions. I just want an app that lets me browse for music, click "buy", and it automatically procures my shopping cart selections for me at the very best prices. I configure it once with my account information for multiple music stores, and it does the rest. I'd pay 5 bucks for that, certainly.

 

Which brings me into the cloud for a moment
All this talk about cloud storage and cloud capacity and virtual machines lately has me thinking again, which means not sleeping enough and in general getting a bit dorkier every day (which my image can't really afford, I'm afraid.)

 

But seriously. . . why shouldn't cloud storage and processing (and whatever else you cloud people do in the cloud) be procured in the same way I point out above for music? Let's look at an ITSM workflow for a crisp example of my thought process here:

 

1.) End user hits the service request manager and browses through a list of services (populated by the service catalog, of course) and finds what he/she needs. Let's say it's storage, for the sake of ease.

2.) During checkout and approvals, or wherever the people much smarter than I that build this stuff deem is the appropriate place, a service is pinging pre-approved vendors and / or comparing its own historic purchase data to see where the best price is.

3.) It doesn't stop with price. It also looks at availability - how has each vendor performed? Where have there been outages? Where have transfer speeds been best across all instances deployed?

4.) Using a fancy equation also built by someone smarter than I am, it makes an informed decision about the best place to procure the resource (based on the defined business requirements, historic performance, price, etc.) and automatically procures the resource.

5.) Where the resource (storage) was procured from is, of course, tracked in the CMDB.

6.) Workflows for configuring / managing the instance are seamless

7.) When and if performance degrades below defined thresholds, or price escalates, or competitive pricing decreases substantially, the system may choose to automatically migrate resources - first deploying the new instance, verifying it is up and running and stable, then putting it into production and de-provisioning the previous instance - seamlessly (and updating the CMDB, of course)

 

So that's all I want. And I want it now. Kidding, of course. For all I know, it already exists.

 

And to be clear: this would work with hybrid clouds brilliantly, as well. Can something be provided cheaper and more effectively from the internal cloud? Dynamic resource procurement (as I am calling this, for lack of my knowledge if an industry term that has probably already been invented and I just don't know yet) would let internal and external resources compete against each other and procure only the best, and make sure things get moved when they are no longer the best, and that tracking and compliance etc. are all up to date.

 

Other ideas on pushing the idea of dynamic IT management and automation even further? Don't be shy.

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I remember reading an article back in 2009 suggesting that Twitter would make a great place for teams to monitor error logs for web applications. The argument went that you could use PHP to post errors as they happened to a Twitter feed, which entire teams could monitor.

 

Clearly, with Twitter being such a public venue - and a notoriously unstable one, at that - the idea was dead in the water the moment it was had.

 

But it was interesting. From pretty much the day I started using Chatter from Salesforce.com internally at BMC, I have noticed great value. I not only communicate better with my employees, but with the members of many "virtual teams" I am a member of - and through conversations I have stumbled onto, I have had a seat at the table in dialogues I would never have known were happening. As a marketing guy, it's cool to suddenly find yourself talking with a bunch of R&D guys and trading ideas, or fielding a question from the sales team.

 

Since Chatter is basically an internal-only version of Twitter, and is therefore a bit more secure, I started thinking about revisiting the brainstorming session about ways to use it. Could web apps or IT services or even hardware each have a Chatter account where they post their goings on? Certainly, they could just maintain their own feeds - logging error messages to a place where larger teams could see them, comment to each other, and collaborate on resolutions.

 

I don't think it's about changing what our technology is saying - to itself or to other technologies. It's about bringing that communication into the most robust and usable communication platform. BSM does that in so many ways, bringing all IT disciplines into a common platform which can dramatically simplify IT management. At the center is the CMDB, which in so many ways is an internal Chatter feed, but unless I am mistaken (again, I am a marketing guy with enough tech knowledge to be fooolishly passionate and clumsy), it's a one-way, 1:1 feed of information.

 

I'm interested in ideas for one-to-many communication, and more importantly, how those conversations - among people, processes, and assets - get brought to the forefront, where problems can get solved, new ideas hatched, and efficiencies gained in the same way the Chatter dialogues I have had over the past few weeks have done for me personally.

 

What are your thoughts? What already exists, and how can we push it?

It's amazing what I.T. was meant to be.