How to See Through Clouds
At the dawn of aviation, airplanes did not take off if the clouds were too thick. Pilots back then had to depend upon their eyesight to see where they were going. If there were too many clouds, it was too dangerous to fly. Today, modern avionics make it possible to fly in almost any weather, increasing safety and efficiency. I can remember landing in Montreal one very foggy evening when you could see nothing outside the windows. My first inkling that we were even near the ground was seeing the runway lights as the wheels touched down.
In the same way, cloud management is quickly moving from its dawn to an era where instrumentation, monitoring, and configuration no longer depend upon a small cadre of sharp-eyed engineers, but upon a suite of integrated tools to handle the mechanics of operating an enterprise. These tools let engineers focus on effective architecture and design rather than the care and feeding of servers and storage. Overall, this should reduce cost, improve availability, and lead to more value for any business.
As good as today’s tools are, they are only an input into managing an IT enterprise. Avionics run the airplane, not the airline. A CIO has to run the entire IT business, not just the technology platform that delivers applications to the business. With the complexity of options available today, managing an IT business as a simple cost center is no longer a viable option. CIOs need to consider sourcing decisions, investment decisions, human capital decisions, and a wealth of other inputs. This is where the next level of cloud management comes into play: IT business management.
Back to airplanes for a moment. Airlines have to keep track of where all the planes are, where the crews are, where the gate agents are, what the weather is doing, and a wealth of other information. Without proper management, air travel would grind to a halt. In the same way, IT needs management systems to integrate all the inputs needed to keep the business running, whether technical, functional, or financial.
Clouds used to rule the air, but no longer. Now we have to manage the clouds to keep pace with business. And that is not a simple problem to solve.
Dave Bogan has been an IT management consultant and executive for more than 35 years. He specializes in IT business management and transformation for managed services and consulting firms. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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