In previous posts, we described the importance of developing an overarching strategy for building a hybrid cloud environment and defining the desired business outcomes.
Based on this, organizations should next develop a portfolio of services or applications with capabilities that can deliver those outcomes. This is sometimes called a service catalog, or a menu of services that companies offer to users.
For example, if your organization needs to support its online business, you must be able to quickly scale up and down compute resources to meet changing volumes of electronic transactions. Speed and performance are important. Or if you are building a cloud-based medical records system, security and compliance become critical capabilities.
This is where a service catalog comes into play, to help clearly identify what services are necessary, as well as the requirements for delivering those services. A service catalog provides users with a selection of business and IT services needed to facilitate processes and conduct transactions on a day-by-day basis. It’s a way of centralizing all the services that are vital to people in the organization. The cloud helps enable enterprises to create a digital registry from which users can find and execute services regardless of where they’re located.
To help users understand what services are being offered within a cloud portfolio, the catalog typically includes information such as:
• Who is responsible for managing and maintaining the service
• What the service actually offers for users and how much it costs
• If there is a cost, any related or underpinning services
• Service level agreement (SLA) information that helps providers set expectations for users.
Among the benefits of having a hybrid cloud service catalog is that it can enable executives to monitor and manage metrics showing whether services are being used and how they’re being used; which departments within the company are using which services; whether services are delivering the expected results; how long it takes to recognize returns; and how much user groups are spending on cloud services.
Using these catalogs is especially important for hybrid cloud services so users can easily see — via a self-service portal — which services are available, what they do, and what technology components are used.
Open-source cloud computing projects such as those based on OpenStack technology can help companies build and expand their cloud service portfolios by making it easier for developers to build and deploy new applications faster. They can provide applications across public, private or hybrid environments, determining which is most suitable based on the type of application and who needs access.
In some cases, new cloud-based services can be delivered to user groups within minutes, enabling them to leverage the benefits quickly and delivering fast returns to IT as well as the business in general.
As many organizations move to the hybrid cloud environment, they need an effective way to inventory, manage and deliver the new services being made possible by the cloud. Defining capabilities and creating a service portfolio is a vital part of the process.