Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Self-Service IT with Cloud Computing | Part 1

Popular trends such as mobility, social media, Big Data and cloud computing are combined to create a “revolution“ in IT

Self-service is a traditional element for humans. A typical and successful example of self-service is vendor machines that dispenses drinks. Coca-Cola (among others) operates a large number of self-service machines all over the world, in public places such as universities, museums, and sport arenas. People are used to dealing with the machines as they are simple to use and easy to find. In today's world, there is a huge variety of self-service machines that are not limited to soft drinks. There are self-service machines for snacks, chewing gum and you can even buy pizzas from self-service machines.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have revolutionized the way we deal with money. The only question is, why is there no self-service IT available yet? A self-service IT where you can use the benefits of self-service machines: insert money, press a button and get the service you need. It should be as fast and simple as with a soda vending machine. But is this type of service delivery actually possible? In the following series of articles we will look at self-service IT and what is necessary for it.

In the past few years, a very popular trend has emerged in IT: cloud computing. However, cloud computing is not the only popular trend; we can see many more trends on the horizon. The market research firm IDC calls this "the third platform." In the third platform, popular trends such as mobility, social media, Big Data and cloud computing are combined to create a "revolution" in IT. This trend is supposed to dramatically change the IT landscape as we know it today.

A vision of a company, where self-service IT is implemented, would look like the following: the IT department is reducing the time they invest in operational tasks such as maintaining their servers and applying patches. Core tasks of the IT department would shift toward providing more and more services for their end users. End users in different departments within an enterprise could use these services out-of-the box. This means that they don't need to call someone in the IT department to create new instances or applications. If the marketing department needs a new website for a product launch, they go to their self-service platform (which is ideally integrated in the internal portal) and launch the new website. The website is automatically configured and the corporate identity is applied. These services are basically available within minutes. The IT department now works on providing more templates and more applications that are available for the user out-of-the box. This reduces the time-to-market and improves the possibilities in the IT department.

In many companies today, this process is done the following way today: if the marketing department needs a new website for a product launch, they talk to the IT department. The IT department now prepares an instance - either virtual or dedicated. The level of automation can vary, but often it‘s not that automated. The process to create a new marketing website might take some days or even weeks. IT departments are overloaded with tasks that are actually repeatable and can be automated. Automating these processes can significantly improve the IT power of an enterprise, which could lead to an uptake in competition (Stelzer & Heinrich, 2011).

Cloud computing is a strong driver for self-service IT. If we look at popular platforms such as Amazon Web Services[1], platforms are basically easy to use. To get started with Amazon Web Services, nothing is needed except a valid credit card. To register, it takes a mere 10 minutes and you‘re ready to go. However, in most cases corporate environments don't use these services we call public cloud (Meir-Huber, 2011) nowadays. Large enterprises want to have their IT often with a familiar outsourcing provider or even insourced. This is what we call private cloud. If we talk about private cloud, we also need a high level of self-service and all aspects of the cloud basically apply to private cloud as well. Right now, we have some mature platforms for private cloud computing. Popular companies such as VMware or Microsoft provide some of them; others are open source platforms like OpenStack or Eucalyptus. These platforms basically provide Infrastructure as a Service tools. If other platforms such as Platform as a Service or even Software as a Service are needed, they are not as mature as Infrastructure as a Services. Additional work is required to achieve that.

(Miller & Cardoso , 2012) describes self-service IT as "Internet-Based Self-Services" and outlines the importance of self-services:

"Many worldwide economies have moved away from manufacturing and became service-oriented. As a consequence, research on Internet-based Self-Services (ISS) will foster the uptake of service exports and trading since they can replace many face-to-face interactions and make service transactions more accurate, convenient and faster." (Miller & Cardoso , 2012)

By this, (Miller & Cardoso , 2012) states that self-services will allow companies to replace face-to-face interactions for processes with automated processes. This will improve the company processes, making them more accurate, more convenient and faster. (Miller & Cardoso , 2012) also describes that there is a research gap so far in self-services, since this type of service has to be developed by someone - and this costs time and money. They suggest using different tools to create self-services out of models.

To read the entire series on self-service IT, have a look at the posts here: http://cloudvane.com/tag/self-service-it

More Stories By Mario Meir-Huber

Mario Meir-Huber studied Information Systems at the University of Linz. He worked in the IT sector for some years before founding CodeForce, an IT consulting and services company together with Andreas Aschauer. Since the advent of Cloud Computing, he has been passionate about this technology. He talks about Cloud Computing at various international events and conferences and writes for industry-leading magazines on cloud computing. He is Cloud Computing expert in various independent IT organizations and wrote a book on Cloud Computing covering all topics of the Cloud. You can follow Mario on Twitter (@mario_mh) or read his Blog at http://cloudvane.wordpress.com.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
FinTechs use the cloud to operate at the speed and scale of digital financial activity, but are often hindered by the complexity of managing security and compliance in the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sesh Murthy, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Raxak, showed how proactive and automated cloud security enables FinTechs to leverage the cloud to achieve their business goals. Through business-driven cloud security, FinTechs can speed time-to-market, diminish risk and costs, maintain continu...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discussed how a new approach is neces...
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, discussed how AI can simplify cloud operations. He covered the following topics: why cloud mana...
Docker containers have brought great opportunities to shorten the deployment process through continuous integration and the delivery of applications and microservices. This applies equally to enterprise data centers as well as the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jari Kolehmainen, founder and CTO of Kontena, discussed solutions and benefits of a deeply integrated deployment pipeline using technologies such as container management platforms, Docker containers, and the drone.io Cl tool. H...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Enterprises are universally struggling to understand where the new tools and methodologies of DevOps fit into their organizations, and are universally making the same mistakes. These mistakes are not unavoidable, and in fact, avoiding them gifts an organization with sustained competitive advantage, just like it did for Japanese Manufacturing Post WWII.
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)