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Intelligently Manage Hidden IT Cloud and Agility Costs



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July 21, 2010 12:19 pm

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Operate, Control & Deliver Services through Technology is the Job of IT Operations

Cloud and Virtualization brings Agility – At What Hidden Cost and What Value?

When the Novell Business Service Management product team was on the cusp of releasing an integration to Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Computing service (EC2) this month the very first thing that came to my mind as a one time (century’s ago in the dark ages of mainframes, assembler, CICS and COBOL) application developer was, “if dialing up a VM is free in the cloud, what is to stop me from calling it continually, on a whim and just leave it running?”. If I don’t see the cost, how would you expect the costs to be managed conscienciously and with frugality? Why would that occur to me? Coming from the dark ages, I worked for a large outsourcer where size of the code, how fast it ran, how many requests for the same data was scrutinized (read once, use often), etc.

Reminds me of having a mobile phone, sent to Europe to travel and told, just use the phone. Then I found the roaming charges as I investigated my own usage one month in an attempt to estimate what I might require on a personal plan. WOW! The hidden roaming cost would have changed my behavior had I known ahead of time.

Read on for quick run down of these hidden costs brought on by new technology………..

Three hidden costs jump out at me without batting an eye as an ex-support person/operator/marketeer (yes, jack of a lot of trades – master of none) are focused with the three functions of Operations: 1) Usage – the yin and yang of agility and control 2) Support – the operation side of services regardless of whether the business contracted for it out of frustration or whether Ops supplied the services and 3) Quality – managing to a SLA and the delivery of services.

Control and Usage:

This is the first one that jumped out at me, if it appears free, how much will those pesky application developers rack up in fees? Solution, meter it and metering it is actually quite simple and then charge it back. Novell Business Service Management could meter the usage and present it in a dashboard real time and could shut down usage when it hits a threshold of appropriate usage and send out notifications. Talk about a behavior changer. Reminds me of my early days when I had to count the number of times I compiled my code causing me to be aware of the machine time I consumed on compiles.

Operate and Support:

As soon as a service is contracted, it requires help and support of some kind and you know your service desk will end up fielding those calls. The business gets frustrated and goes outside and leverages EC2 (for instance) to provide additional capacity in search of agility over IT, but forgets that each time they contact the service desk that is $25 for the initial contact and goes up from there. Just think of the number of how to calls, what if they had to then pay for those too and you as IT charged a premium for those since they are not your services? Imagine this can be tracked and displayed in a real-time dashboard with Novell Business Service Manager.

The positive on this frustration and going outside to gain additional capacity will be that the service provider will impose a standard of service and configuration upon your business units. When they are ready to come back home, the standard will be easier to deploy and enforce.

Delivery and Quality of Service:

Finally, the last thing that the business may have thought about might be the service levels and the quality of service required in conjunction with their desire for agile, on-demand capacity. What does it cost for an application developer to sit idle? What does it cost when that developer is off-shore and on contract and they are waiting on that capacity? This is a real life cost of a current Novell Business Service Management customer (not in the cloud – yet – but in managing the costs and effectiveness of their developers).

The ability to monitor performance of the service, availability and efficiency of the subscribers in a real-time dashboard, even if your business user contracted for the service and elastic service directly, time to be the hero and illustrate the cost / value and redeem yourself to regain the service.

Like I opened with, I’ve written this blog in under an hour and were the first thoughts (and expose the depth of my management roots) when opening up the world of Amazon and EC2 to Novell Business Service Management customers. Ok, while the unlimited usage hit me straight away, I admit also to expanding upon my manager’s IWM blog post recently reminding me of this topic (http://bit.ly/dk46al).

Two great articles supporting the boiling tea kettle of frustration of business with IT appeared just this past week:

NetworkWorld 7/16/2010 – Cloud Computing: Two Kinds of Agility (http://bit.ly/c3ExXM)

BusinessWire 7/15/2010 – IT Executives Must Embrace Innovation or Expect Weakened Leadership Opportunities (http://bit.ly/byZM1q)

Why these articles? Business is going direct out of frustration and both point to how IT could incorporate Virtualizaiton and Cloud Computing (new technology) into their offeings as innovation and new and improved services rather than just IT efficiencies. Business going direct has 3 easily identifiable costs as outlined above.

Business Align or Perish or at least be Outsourced! What will that cost your business?

Physical, Virtual, Cloud Computing – The Control Never Ends! Check out Novell Business Service Management! (http://bit.ly/aOVQrS)

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