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Cloud Computing

July 2009 Previous month Next month
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- by Alena Hitzemann, Associate Web Editor

 

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Welcome to the official blog of the Cloud Computing Community! We hope this space becomes a forum for ideas, insights and conversations related to the exciting new world of the cloud.

 

Several BMCers plan to post their thoughts here as the community grows. Leading the charge will be Herb VanHook, Vice President of Business Planning. A little about Herb:

 

Herb VanHook, Vice President of Business Planning, has held several key positions at META Group (most recently serving as Interim President and Chief Operating Officer), and has more than 30 years of experience in information technology, including senior positions at IBM, Computer Associates, and Legent Corporation.

 

Herb focuses on issues and trends that will impact IT management over the next several years. His research will explore the changes in technology environments and the challenges these changes will present in managing the evolving IT world.

 

Herb's contributions to BMC include the following:

 

White Papers:

 

Articles:

 

Podcasts:

 

 

With experts like Herb contributing to this blog, we're sure it will be success. But we need your input, too. What would you like to talk about? What kind of information do you need? What are the current hot topics around cloud computing? Let us know, and we'll make sure that our bloggers stay up to date and on the ball.

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.

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- by Kia Behnia, Chief Technology Officer

 

As CTO at BMC Software, I spend a lot of time flying around the world talking to customers about their IT and business priorities right now and over the next couple years. Whether I’m plunking down $25 to check a bag or getting a 2-ounce bag of peanuts instead of a meal, it’s easy to see the dramatic changes the airline industry has made to adjust to new global economic realities. BMC’s customers are going through the same evolution: Do more with less – but hopefully without sacrificing quality of service. 

 

It’s an interesting parallel to draw, and it becomes clearer with each customer conversation.

 

A large Swiss bank recently told me they wanted their IT organization to operate more like a commercial airline than a chartered jet fleet. As a large financial intuition, IT used to look at every business request as if it were chartering a flight to go to a specific destination with two passengers. They custom built every server often picking the most expensive options and then customized the software stack. While picking from the top shelf satisfied the business in the short term, the bank’s IT organization was left with a complicated, underutilized and heavily customized infrastructure. This wound up hurting the business in the long run, because while top line revenues dropped, the infrastructure costs actually grew due to transaction volume. That’s when they understood in order to compete in this new world they need to operate differently.

 

Think about this. When you book flights, the airlines don’t start out by asking whether you want a 747 or 777 or prefer an Airbus or a Boeing plane. They give you choices on price, times and destinations and allow you to choose based on needs and priorities. If you need to get to Denver by 2 p.m. for a customer meeting, you would make destination and time a priority over price. But if you’re looking for a cheap weekend getaway, you might be more flexible on departure and arrival times and even on destination. It’s a self-service model that allows customers to buy tickets anytime and anywhere.

 

In the same way, the bank worked with BMC to align their IT to a commercial jet model. Managing IT based on the needs of the business – with well-defined service levels – enables organizations to focus on driving efficiencies and productivities that meet larger corporate goals. When someone in the business needs a new application or additional capacity on an existing application, he or she can reserve a seat. The service catalog provides different classes of service, prioritizes requests and minimizes costs just like airlines size their planes according to the demand for flights and fly full planes to be most efficient.

 

This idea dovetails perfectly with the top three themes that we are hearing from IT organizations:

 

Standardization: It is critical to establish a standard set of IT service offerings and associated standard infrastructure components and processes to fulfill those services similar to how an airline offers different classes of seats and different routes. Think of it like a menu or catalog with a standard set of IT offerings (like compute services, or email). These services are defined and even priced in a service catalog, providing IT with a storefront. The standard processes then are used to fulfill requests from this catalog. Standard configurations are used in the fulfillment process to reduce the need for one-off configurations.

 

Simplification: Standardization goes a long way in simplification, but the key is to identify duplication of function and reuse.  The objective here is all about reducing the number of steps required while giving customers better service.  Self-service check -n process for the airline simplified the airlines processes but also benefited customers by not forcing them to stand in long lines.

 

Automation: The key to cost reduction. Most repetitive IT tasks can be automated. This allows organizations to become much more efficient with their staff and manage a greater number of resources.  Automation also improves responsiveness and agility. In most organizations provisioning a new instance of an application and supporting infrastructure can take days or weeks. With automation this can be done in minutes.

 

While we’re on the subject of planes, now seems like as good a time as any to transition to those fluffy white objects outside the window. We’ll explore the topic of clouds in my next post.

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.

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