Opsware maps ITIL v3 to data centre automation

Opsware on Tuesday outlined the service-driven focus of ITIL v3 and how important its best practices can be in relationship to data centre automation.

In a Webcast hosted by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm recently acquired by HP, executives discussed how last month’s release of the updated Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) books means IT managers need to shift their focus to align technology to meet the enterprise’s business goals.

ITIL Version 3 updates the set of concepts and techniques for managing IT infrastructure, development, and operations, with a greater emphasis on real-world business issues as well as a bevy of practical examples for IT managers to follow.

According to David Cannon, founder of IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) and an ITSM practice principal at HP, Version 1 was focused on stability and control and Version 2, the latest ITIL guidelines, centre around service management that aligns business and IT. Cannon cited the new definition of service for IT managers using ITIL v3 which outlines the means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.

“The only time you talk about a service is when you can link it to something of value to the business,” Cannon said. “This means that IT has to understand what the business is doing with the service and how it meets the business objectives.”

Cannon also said that IT needs to understand business outcomes as well as how to link IT activity to business goals in order to deliver consistent value to the enterprise. This was an aspect, he said, the process-oriented ITIL v2 did not address.

“The problem with the process-oriented focus is that it lacks the link to what the business needs to achieve,” Cannon said. “Processes help to organize work better. They are aligned to activity and output, but not necessarily to value.”

Cannon said that for a service-driven focus, IT managers need to look to ITIL v3 in order to link strategy to process, people, and tools.

“IT needs to become a strategy business unit and no just a back-office support unit,” Cannon said. “Good strategy doesn’t only need come from the business; it needs to come from IT too.”

According to Opsware, with this strategy comes an increased focus on management of IT service lifecycles. Sanjay Anne, principal marketing manager at Opsware, advised IT managers on the importance of data centre automation to manage these service lifecycles.

Anne said there is no reason to think that the evolution of IT is any different than similar trends in the auto or manufacturing industry and that to combat the constantly changing and increasing complexity IT environment, automation can help create a more adaptive, service-oriented infrastructure.

“The more manual steps a company takes, the more these are prone to error and increased risk in deploying their IT,” Anne said. “So, automation is not only an option, but actually a necessity.”

Anne said that Opsware network and server automation software can be useful to create this adaptive environment and implement ITIL v3’s best practices.

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