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Warning: What you don't know - will - hurt you!

Updated on November 1, 2014
Stressing over work!
Stressing over work!

We've seen it coming, and now it's here!

I'm talking about change. And not just any change. A big IT change.

The world changed when the market crashed in 2007, and IT has been changing since. But now the pressure to do more, with less, and faster has become unbearable.

In IT, the invent of virtualization and cloud technologies have opened up a door for new opportunities, right? Opportunities that supposedly reduce the need to build more (or bigger) datacenters.

But there's a problem. The majority of IT organizations are finding it more difficult than expected to shift their operations offsite or even to use a hybrid cloud model.


Because most managers thought just having great infrastructure skills on staff was enough - wrong!

Ah, but this isn't stopping the business from moving on to find out why.

What you don't know - will - hurt you.

Seems the tail is wagging the dog in many organizations where vendors have sold a cloud solution to the marketing or sales department, but unfortunately the IT manager has been left out of the negotiations.

Oh, don't worry though, IT will eventually get called upon - but not until later - when they are told to make it happen. And make it happen, they shall, kind-of.

And one more thing to mention. To make the problem worst, in many cases a trial or POC has already been happening for months without the IT manager's knowledge. Just thought I should mention this before we move on.

Vendors use back doors and windows.

It’s not uncommon for vendors to crawl in through a window and sell the business products that IT managers will have to clean up after.

This has been common practice since long before the cloud arrived. So how do IT departments adapt to these behaviors fast enough to keep up?

Let’s try to answer this question by focusing on what’s really behind the problem. At the last 5 places I've consulted, it’s been chaos behind the scene: Excessive complexity, Hodge-Podge infrastructures, and extremely slow server deployments due to technology silos. Does this sound familiar?

Let’s face it, we in IT have created the opportunity for vendors, and now we are paying dearly for it as development teams are going around IT departments and straight to the cloud with a few clicks of the mouse.

Self-Service Portals are cool!

Most cloud products on the market such as VMware and Openstack have self-service portals which allow developers to deploy their own server resources. They work similar to what’s offered at AWS or Rackspace, except they are internal. But there's a small problem.

What I've seen is many IT departments struggle to get to this level of service delivery because they are buried with day to day operations, and because they lack the skills to deliver such automated services.

Many organizations have started using ITIL, and others are finding out about DevOps. But DevOps is relatively new and not many understand it yet, do you? Keep reading to find out more.

We've all heard it before.

Let's hear it again! Building servers and networks is a complicated process because not all requests are the same, right?

Yet, the expectation from the business is still the same: faster, faster, faster! And this is where you are losing the game.

The fact is - many IT departments have fallen further and further behind in delivering stable services to the business. This only builds more pressure for adopting cloud services to keep up with competition.

Thus, the answer to my earlier question. This is why the problem exists in the first place. IT is too slow! I feel the pain, too. And I have been frustrated about this problem, as well.

Let me save you a lot of frustration.

Accept it! I say accept it because you are not going to solve the problem by denying it. And another thing. Your organization will eventually bolt onto the cloud in some way or fashion regardless how you feel about it.

So instead of griping about it, start doing something by getting in front it and making sure you have people who can support cloud services from EC2, Azure, or Google. Or tools such as Puppet, Chef and Ansible.

Here's another post I've written about DevOps Training. Read it because it also covers web services and other important skills you and your team need to learn, ASAP.

Now let's talk about the solution.

Agile & DevOps Trends

Many operations are turning to agile methodologies such as SCRUM to improve their project management processes. It works by breaking larger projects into small running projects called sprints.

And along with process improvements, they are also testing automation tools such as Chef and Puppet to speed up code deployments and releases.

To bridge the gap between developers and operations staff, many organization are jumping on the DevOps trend, which has been successfully building since Gene Kim released the “The Phoenix Project”.

Training is required.

The key now is to make sure your team is ready and properly trained. Just having great hardware and infrastructure people isn't good enough. They need to know how to code in Ruby, PERL, Python and other languages used by automation tools. They also need to understand web services and how to leverage APIs.

The concept of a software defined datacenter means accessing physical resources via calls from scripts and cookbooks. In the cloud there’s no longer a physical provisioning of hardware, it’s all done through an API. And this includes network services such as: IPs, DNS and VIPS.

Reality Checker

If you haven’t realized it yet, the time for legacy IT operations has past. Now it’s time for IT managers to adapt and invest in their teams training. Stop being angry and start updating your skills. Make sure your team is utility and flexible.

Here's a great online place to get all the agile training you want. There's also thousands of how to videos about cloud and other skills IT staff need to stay current with today's demand.

Let's close with a sample video and a simple poll to take. After taking the poll and watching the video, please make a decision to start getting ahead of the movement before it's too late. You've been warned, so take action!

Click here to read more topics for IT Managers.

Test your knowledge.

Which answer best describes DevOps?

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What is agile project management?


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