In 2009 we began consulting jobs with governments in developing countries with the primary objective to consolidate data centers across government ministries and agencies into centralized, high capacity and quality data centers. At the time, nearly all individual ministry or agency data infrastructure was built into either small computers rooms or server closets with some added “brute force” air conditioning, no backup generators, no data back up, superficial security, and lots of other ailments.
The vision and strategy was that if we consolidated inefficient, end of life, and high risk IT infrastructure into a standardized and professionally managed facility, national information infrastructure would not only be more secure, but through standardization, volume purchasing agreements, some server virtualization, and development of broadband infrastructure most of the IT needs of government would be easily fulfilled.
Then of course cloud computing began to mature, and the underlying technologies of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) became feasible. Now, not only were the governments able to decommission inefficient and high-risk IS environments, they would also be able to build virtual data centers with levels of on-demand compute, storage, and network resources. Basic data center replacement.
Even those remaining committed “server hugger” IT managers and fiercely independent governmental organizations cloud hardly argue the benefits of having access to disaster recovery storage capacity though the centralized data center.
As the years passed, and we entered 2014, not only did cloud computing mature as a business model, but senior management began to increase their awareness of various aspects of cloud computing, including the financial benefits, standardization of IT resources, the characteristics of cloud computing, and potential for Platform and Software as a Service (PaaS/SaaS) to improve both business agility and internal decision support systems.
At the same time, information and organizational architecture, governance, and service delivery frameworks such as TOGAF, COBIT, ITIL, and Risk Analysis training reinforced the value of both data and information within an organization, and the need for IT systems to support higher level architectures supporting decision support systems and market interactions (including Government to Government, Business, and Citizens for the public sector).
2015 will bring cloud computing and architecture together at levels just becoming comprehensible to much of the business and IT world. The open Group has a good first stab at building a standard for this marriage with their Service-Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure (SOCCI). According to the SOCCI standard,
“Infrastructure is a foundational element for enterprise architecture. Infrastructure has been traditionally provisioned in a physical manner. With the evolution of virtualization technologies and application of service-orientation to infrastructure, it can now be offered as a service.
Service-orientation principles originated in the business and application architecture arena. After repeated, successful application of these principles to application architecture, IT has evolved to extending these principles to the infrastructure.”
At first glance the SOCII standard appears to be a document which creates a mapping between enterprise architecture (TOGAF) and cloud computing. At second glance the SOCCI standard really steps towards tightening the loose coupling of standard service-oriented architectures through use of cloud computing tools included with all service models (IaaS/PaaS/SaaS).
The result is an architectural vision which is easily capable of absorbing existing IT requirements, as well as incorporating emerging big data analytics models, interoperability, and enterprise architecture.
Since the early days of 2009 discussion topics with government and enterprise customers have shown a marked transition from simply justifying decommissioning of high risk data centers to how to manage data sharing, interoperability, or the potential for over standardization and other service delivery barriers which might inhibit innovation – or ability of business units to quickly respond to rapidly changing market opportunities.
2015 will be an exciting year for information and communications technologies. For those of us in the consulting and training business, the new year is already shaping up to be the busiest we have seen.