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Cloud Computing, Lean IT

Cloud Computing – a perspective from IT Service Management


I became “curiouser and curiouser” about cloud computing as we all have been bombarded with this term.  When I skimmed the definition it did not sound like any thing new.  We have been using Hotmail for more than a decade;  My elearning portal was “in the cloud” for more than 6 years.  So, I was not clear what the hype is about.



Then I saw this Youtube interview by  Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle.


I was relieved. Though the title says “Larry hates / bashes cloud computing”,  Larry  is criticizing only the hype around the  term “cloud computing”.   He acknowledges it has been the way we did business in the past, present and continue to do in the future.

Due to increase in computing power and increase in broadband speed does the change the way we  do business.   We may think that the changes (in doing business) can happen incrementally.  The cloud proponents think that the change is a “paradigm shift”. (my friend says  a management  strategy meeting cannot run without using the term  “paradigm shift”).  Both camps agree that there is a need for change.

The first thing comes to one’s mind when we discuss about cloud computing is “security”.   The last thing that comes to their mind is the changes they have to make in their organization to adapt to the cloud service delivery model.

In this series,  I will start with an overview of cloud computing.  Then I will be analyzing how the Service Management lifecycle will be impacted because of cloud computing.

Broad  definitions of cloud:



A style of Computing where scalable and elastic IT capabilities are provided as a service to multiple customers using Internet technologies”



Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.


My definition of cloud:

A service delivery/sourcing model where services are delivered through internet, offers a usage based pricing and supported by a bi-directional scalable infrastructure.

Characteristics of cloud computing:

  • On-demand self-service. A consumer can provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider.
  • Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs).
  • Resource pooling. The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand.
  • Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned to quickly scale out and rapidly released to quickly scale in.
  • Measured Service. Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts).

(source: NIST definition v15)

Layers of cloud computing:


Software As A Service (SAAS):

User can subscribe to an application, or group of applications that form a service: Example: SaleForce.com

Platform As A Service (PAAS)

Users can subscribe to a development platform.

Example: Windows Azure, Google App Engine

Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS)

Users can subscribe to computing infrastructure.

Example: Datacenters


Advantages of cloud computing:


Business Agility:

  • It takes fraction of the time to subscribe to a service or set-up a development environment

Potential Cost saving

  • No Capital costs and operational costs can be saved depending upon the individual business conditions

Bidirectional scalability

  • Can cater for the extra volume due to growth or seasonal variations

IT Service continuity

  • Backup and disaster recovery can be the responsibility of the provider

Virtual office: 

  • Supports remote workers by providing a standard environment


Can reduce green house emissions due to resource pooling


In the next blog,  we will discuss about Service Strategy highlighting two important aspects:

–          The changing role of IT from “Shared services” to “Self services”

–          Service Costing 

In the context of  Strategy, I will introduce  the terms “Private”, “Public” and “Hybrid” cloud structures.  There are interesting ways of slicing and dicing the hybrid.

Stay tuned!


About Murali Ramakrishnan

Murali is the Managing Director of the boutique consulting firm "Process-Symphony". Process-Symphony specializes in IT enabled business process orchestration. http://www.process-symphony.com.au http://www.kloudax.net.au


One thought on “Cloud Computing – a perspective from IT Service Management

  1. Enjoyed your post(s) and think this is a great dialogue to help people through in understanding this complex IT topic.

    I was a skeptic initially and really disliked the hype on cloud. Then I changed jobs and moved to a management role in Intel IT. As I learned more about cloud computing and what we were doing, I started to get excited about the transformation – and yes it is gradual process.

    Your explanations so far are right on and I look forward to the next edition.

    Take a look at what this means to Intel IT and what we are doing about cloud. We are not just talking – we are in full blown transformation mode. We have uncovered some interesting IT best practices for cloud computing.

    Go here to explore our resources – http://bit.ly/gvPDaS

    Chris P

    Posted by Chris_P_Intel | March 4, 2011, 9:55 pm

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