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Choice brings ‘tiers’ of joy

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By Steve Rushen, Senior Director of Services and Support at Abiquo

As consumers in our day-to-day lives we have become accustomed to choice. A cup of coffee, is no longer a simple “cup of coffee”. We now choose where we go for a coffee. Anything, from a small independent café, to a plethora of global brands present on every high street.

We choose the coffee bean, the strength, the type of milk and all sorts of flavours and toppings… IT is no different.

Once we get to the coffee shop the choices quickly grow exponentially. We choose the coffee bean, the strength, the type of milk and all sorts of flavours and toppings that customise our coffee experience. This is just one example of the choice we now expect, and its very different from how we consumed coffee 10 years ago.

IT is no different. We are transitioning to a self-service cloud enabled world where we expect to have the choices in order to customise our interaction with IT. We have that choice already through our smartphones and tablets, but more and more IT consumers expect to be offered real choice in the IT services that they consume.

This represents a real challenge for the IT department or administrator. For years IT has created efficiency and reduced the support overhead by creating “standard” environments and platforms, effectively creating an underlying IT infrastructure with a one size fits all mentality. With the rise of cloud technologies and services the IT consumer is already being presented with the choices that they want. IT needs to adapt and become the enabler to providing that same choice to their consumers.

[Choice]…represents a real challenge for the IT department or administrator.

The IT department still needs to think about its own costs and efficiency. It is not as simple as creating multiple service offerings for the consumer. In the modern world where the IT consumer expects choice and self-service the IT department needs a single platform that enables them to deliver just that! The technology world has transformed, just like the earlier coffee analogy, there are an infinite combination of choices in compute, storage, networking and the services that software will provide on top of that underling infrastructure. The IT department needs a single management platform that abstracts the consumer from the underlying complexity in those infrastructure technologies but still allows them to choose which is the right combination of technology for the task in hand, or the service that they are creating. IT simply needs a single platform that offers multiple tiers of service.

For example my development team are in the early proof of concept stage of a creating a new application. At this stage they are in short development cycles, and their core requirement is agility. They don’t need high performance servers or the latest SSD storage. As the development of the application matures they need to start considering the performance and availability that will be needed in production and their core requirements change. By creating multiple tiers of service the first environment would be on a low tier, using commodity hardware and storage, and perhaps a free hypervisor. As time goes on, its time to move the application to a higher tier in the stack. A hardware and software stack that mirrors production. The key here is providing the choice to the IT consumer through a single platform, that enables them to make choose the service tier that they want through self-service.