ITSM as a Path to the Cloud

By Anthony Orr, ITSM Solutions Director 

Every day, many organizations are thinking about how they could utilize cloud capabilities more within their organizations. SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions are all around us. One challenge is moving legacy on-premises information technology assets into the cloud. The legacy applications are complex, hard to understand, and have very little documentation to enable the engineering efforts needed to repurpose them to the cloud.  

Also, many organizations are not using all their IT assets to their fullest potential—especially the computing power of servers and mainframes. This results in a high total cost of ownership and a very low return on investment for the IT environment itself. These costs and the value of cloud solutions to the organization easily justify the need to move workloads to the cloud and remove workloads from the on-premises IT assets. 

An ITSM starting point 

A starting point for cloud migration is taking inventory and understanding the engineering behind where, how, and what your IT infrastructure is supporting relative to applications, storage, and disciplines such as disaster recovery, data management, security, etc. 

The good news, within the ITSM discipline, is that IT Operations Management (ITOM) solutions can support your needs. One of the key ITOM solutions is the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) which helps you inventory your IT assets in a hybrid environment. Configuration Management Database provides a centralized repository of information about IT assets and services, including their configurations, relationships, and dependencies. The configuration management database also helps reduce issues related to risks, including disaster recovery (DR) planning. Understanding inter-dependencies across IT assets is also a critical first step for cloud migrations assessments. It is important to understand your environment and have a strategic plan for migration. 

ITSM next steps 

After installing the CMDB and executing hardware and software IT asset discovery, the composition of your environment will become clear. You may want to go further and understand the business services that are enabled with the IT assets and include them in your CMDB. 

This is more of a tactical approach to starting your journey for leveraging ITSM technologies for cloud migrations. The strategic approach, where you start with a strategic plan, define specific outcomes, design a service model, define service capabilities, analyze the data then follow the tactics mentioned earlier. The basic perspective mentioned here can help with migration to the cloud by allowing all the data points to be mapped and organized.  

Getting to Cloud Readiness 

To make decisions for moving IT assets to the cloud, you now have some engineering-level data within the CMDB and in many cases a pictorial view of various components that make up business and/or IT services. When prioritizing the workloads or applications to consider for the cloud, you want to understand the complexities of each. Usually simple adoption to cloud, you can start with storage, backups, or disaster recovery models. You can also look at your applications and determine if there is a SaaS version available and coordinate with the application vendor to understand the migration journey. Many of our customers’ journey to the cloud starts with the basics in a hybrid model—consider it  an extension of your data center or on-premises environment.  

Migration to the cloud allows the organization to focus on managing the business more than managing technologies. As the cloud is always adapting to the latest technologies, this allows organizations to have continuous improvement, innovation, cost management, improved security, and the opportunity to stay competitive with emerging technologies. 

Contact SDI to understand how to start or improve your cloud journey and how to leverage ITSM capabilities of IT Operations Management (ITOM) for supporting strategic cloud decisions.