Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Vormetric Blog, Jason Bloomberg, Miguel Valdes Faura

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Self-Service IT with Cloud Computing | Part 1

Popular trends such as mobility, social media, Big Data and cloud computing are combined to create a “revolution“ in IT

Self-service is a traditional element for humans. A typical and successful example of self-service is vendor machines that dispenses drinks. Coca-Cola (among others) operates a large number of self-service machines all over the world, in public places such as universities, museums, and sport arenas. People are used to dealing with the machines as they are simple to use and easy to find. In today's world, there is a huge variety of self-service machines that are not limited to soft drinks. There are self-service machines for snacks, chewing gum and you can even buy pizzas from self-service machines.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have revolutionized the way we deal with money. The only question is, why is there no self-service IT available yet? A self-service IT where you can use the benefits of self-service machines: insert money, press a button and get the service you need. It should be as fast and simple as with a soda vending machine. But is this type of service delivery actually possible? In the following series of articles we will look at self-service IT and what is necessary for it.

In the past few years, a very popular trend has emerged in IT: cloud computing. However, cloud computing is not the only popular trend; we can see many more trends on the horizon. The market research firm IDC calls this "the third platform." In the third platform, popular trends such as mobility, social media, Big Data and cloud computing are combined to create a "revolution" in IT. This trend is supposed to dramatically change the IT landscape as we know it today.

A vision of a company, where self-service IT is implemented, would look like the following: the IT department is reducing the time they invest in operational tasks such as maintaining their servers and applying patches. Core tasks of the IT department would shift toward providing more and more services for their end users. End users in different departments within an enterprise could use these services out-of-the box. This means that they don't need to call someone in the IT department to create new instances or applications. If the marketing department needs a new website for a product launch, they go to their self-service platform (which is ideally integrated in the internal portal) and launch the new website. The website is automatically configured and the corporate identity is applied. These services are basically available within minutes. The IT department now works on providing more templates and more applications that are available for the user out-of-the box. This reduces the time-to-market and improves the possibilities in the IT department.

In many companies today, this process is done the following way today: if the marketing department needs a new website for a product launch, they talk to the IT department. The IT department now prepares an instance - either virtual or dedicated. The level of automation can vary, but often it‘s not that automated. The process to create a new marketing website might take some days or even weeks. IT departments are overloaded with tasks that are actually repeatable and can be automated. Automating these processes can significantly improve the IT power of an enterprise, which could lead to an uptake in competition (Stelzer & Heinrich, 2011).

Cloud computing is a strong driver for self-service IT. If we look at popular platforms such as Amazon Web Services[1], platforms are basically easy to use. To get started with Amazon Web Services, nothing is needed except a valid credit card. To register, it takes a mere 10 minutes and you‘re ready to go. However, in most cases corporate environments don't use these services we call public cloud (Meir-Huber, 2011) nowadays. Large enterprises want to have their IT often with a familiar outsourcing provider or even insourced. This is what we call private cloud. If we talk about private cloud, we also need a high level of self-service and all aspects of the cloud basically apply to private cloud as well. Right now, we have some mature platforms for private cloud computing. Popular companies such as VMware or Microsoft provide some of them; others are open source platforms like OpenStack or Eucalyptus. These platforms basically provide Infrastructure as a Service tools. If other platforms such as Platform as a Service or even Software as a Service are needed, they are not as mature as Infrastructure as a Services. Additional work is required to achieve that.

(Miller & Cardoso , 2012) describes self-service IT as "Internet-Based Self-Services" and outlines the importance of self-services:

"Many worldwide economies have moved away from manufacturing and became service-oriented. As a consequence, research on Internet-based Self-Services (ISS) will foster the uptake of service exports and trading since they can replace many face-to-face interactions and make service transactions more accurate, convenient and faster." (Miller & Cardoso , 2012)

By this, (Miller & Cardoso , 2012) states that self-services will allow companies to replace face-to-face interactions for processes with automated processes. This will improve the company processes, making them more accurate, more convenient and faster. (Miller & Cardoso , 2012) also describes that there is a research gap so far in self-services, since this type of service has to be developed by someone - and this costs time and money. They suggest using different tools to create self-services out of models.

To read the entire series on self-service IT, have a look at the posts here: http://cloudvane.com/tag/self-service-it

More Stories By Mario Meir-Huber

Mario Meir-Huber studied Information Systems at the University of Linz. He worked in the IT sector for some years before founding CodeForce, an IT consulting and services company together with Andreas Aschauer. Since the advent of Cloud Computing, he has been passionate about this technology. He talks about Cloud Computing at various international events and conferences and writes for industry-leading magazines on cloud computing. He is Cloud Computing expert in various independent IT organizations and wrote a book on Cloud Computing covering all topics of the Cloud. You can follow Mario on Twitter (@mario_mh) or read his Blog at http://cloudvane.wordpress.com.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
BMC Software plans to acquire assets of CDB Software, Inc., a mainframe data management company that has developed utilities for managing IBM DB2 databases with virtually no outage. Focusing on the availability of mission-critical applications is strategic for BMC as it continues to help its customers transform IT into a competitive advantage for their business. CDB's technology complements BMC's existing mainframe data management portfolio, which includes software utilities for DB2 administrat...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. ...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
Software AG and Wipro Ltd. have announced a joint solution platform for streaming analytics that provides real-time actionable intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT) market. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said John Bates, Global Head of Industry Solutions and CMO, Software AG. To address the huge market potential created by streaming analytics in conj...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness,...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
OneCloud Software has launched the OneCloud Partner Program. Responding to demand from prospective partners, the Program offers managed service providers (MSPs) and resellers the resources they need to grow their business with the OneCloud Recovery solution. OneCloud Recovery is an automated solution for disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC), which leverages Amazon Web Services as the disaster recovery site. “This is a tremendous opportunity with an innovative hybrid cloud-based DR pro...
Cloud Technology Partners on Wednesday announced it has been recognized by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards as one of the Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Consulting Partners. Selected by the editors of TechTarget's SearchDataCenter.com, and by votes from customers and strategic channel partners, the companies acknowledged by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards represent the top providers of cloud consulting services for AWS including application migration, application development, inf...
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Axios Systems on Tuesday announced it has selected CenturyLink Cloud as the hosting platform for Axios Systems’ IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions in Canada. CenturyLink, a global provider of communications and IT services, joins other leading technology providers across North America, Europe and APAC to help Axios’ international customers drive efficiencies and innovation across their service management provision. The arrangement with CenturyLink enables Axios to further strengthen its pres...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
Software Defined Storage provides many benefits for customers including agility, flexibility, faster adoption of new technology and cost effectiveness. However, for IT organizations it can be challenging and complex to build your Enterprise Grade Storage from software. In his session at Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, CMO at Cloudian, looked at the new Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) market and how it is changing the storage world. Now Software Defined Storage companies can build Enterprise grade ...
IBM and Docker, Inc. have announced a strategic partnership that enables enterprises to more efficiently, quickly and cost effectively build and run the next generation of applications on the IBM Cloud and on prem via the Docker open platform for distributed applications. Enterprises can use the combination of IBM and Docker to create and manage a new generation of portable distributed applications that are rapidly composed of discrete interoperable Docker containers, have a dynamic lifecycle, a...
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore's Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at Big Data Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, disc...
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by minin...