While the delivery of virtual machines is indisputably faster than deploying physical machines, it is often assumed that this also streamlines the process of deploying IT Services (applications). Virtualization can be used as an accelerator for building out highly dynamic cloud based services, however, the fact remains that while provisioning and deploying VMs has been greatly simplified, application deployments are still complicated and dependent on People, Processes and Technology.
Sure, in a perfect world where organizations only run one application on one type of OS, and one version of that application – virtualization can certainly automate the entire process of application delivery. QA and development environments have been realizing this benefit for years. However, what happens when organizations begin to accelerate their adoption and begin migrating mission critical, multi-tier applications to the virtual data center?
Unfortunately, we live in an IT service world that is comprised of ever increasing complexity requiring in-depth knowledge of application deployment, application dependencies, application monitoring and a deep understanding of security and regulatory requirements. Combine this with the myth that applications deployed in the virtual data center can be delivered faster, cheaper, and easier, it is no surprise that some operations teams are struggling to meet these expectations. How many times has the underlying virtual infrastructure (VMs) been provisioned in minutes, while the actual delivery of services takes hours, days, or in certain cases, weeks.
To the surprise of many, the deployment of IT services in a virtual world still requires the coordination and collaboration of teams spanning operations, security, storage, network, server and applications. At this point, I must ask: does virtualization add to the complexity of delivering applications by frequently adding another isolated ‘team’ to IT? If we measure solely the time it takes to deliver the IT service, shouldn’t we also measure how well the teams collaborate across the silos that are required to deliver those services?
Perhaps virtualization is making us virtually blind to the reality that legacy processes, technology and approaches are inadequate for delivering IT services in the cloud. Unless the virtual data center becomes the catalyst for the convergence and alignment of security, operations, application, server, storage and network teams towards common ‘goals and SLAs’, we will continue to live the reality that delivering cloud-ready services require a little more than work than just ‘right click – deploy.
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