IT has struggled to solve the business needs that have surfaced due to a mismatch in service expectations between business and the delivery that IT has accomplished. IT is being forced to restructure itself by offering IT as a service, which changes the mind-set of the datacenter as an infinite resource to the datacenter as a utility, with service levels tied to costs that the business can relate back to growth. The business cannot do that now, and the reasons are worth explaining.
There are a variety of applications that support numerous business lines across an enterprise. These applications exhibit a wide range of operational characteristics as they service the diverse business demands. That diversity is the key to business success, but it has consequences.
Ask any senior enterprise application architect about how IT should run a datacenter and you will find that the range of behaviors exhibited across the portfolio of applications cannot be run on one or even a small set of standard platform configurations. They will emphasize that the most critical applications often have extreme operational requirements that require specialized adjustments to operating environments. Ask any datacenter manager about accommodating those different application behaviors and they will tell you that the proliferation of platforms makes it impossible to contain costs, manage complexity, or maintain reliability, especially for those critical applications. Ask any business executive about how business is running, and they will tell you that applications cost too much to develop, run, and maintain. They cannot correlate growth to investment in IT, and that is a very dangerous state of affairs for any business.
Offering IT as a service requires a paradigm shift in technology, operational processes, and thinking about how business demand, manifested by applications, affects the use of all datacenter resources. Enterprise cloud computing enables IT as a service and is the next phase in datacenter evolution to solve this spiraling dilemma. The question is, how does business successfully operate this very expensive investment?