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Microservices Expo: Blog Post

The Service Orientation of IT

With all things cloudy, virtual, dynamic, real time...IT must re-orient all its components, capabilities & processes

We are entering a new phase of IT where organizations must orient delivery of service across the entire IT supply chain to behave and operate in a real time manner. Those organizations that don’t embark on this transformational journey will not deliver the desired business growth and maximized shareholder value that is the fiduciary responsibilities of IT executives in support of their businesses.

Let’s call this the Service Orientation of IT, where leading innovative firms are using as a strategy to improve the long term competitive position of business – by delivering anytime, anywhere information and processing as the business needs/when they need it. Service Orientation of IT require firms to implement well targeted capabilities of service agility, optimized transaction IT unit cost and dynamic execution control into a “service-oriented” IT (SOIT) platform.

A SOIT Platform can be conceptually described with the following attributes:

• A platform that coalesces cross client experience, decision support and just in time fulfillment with real time execution & information availability • A platform that delivers “service when needed- as needed” based on the needs of the business’ explicit service requirements

• A platform that affords organizations the ability to implement, new, unique products or differentiated capabilities in a timely manner for purposes of competitive advantage and operational control

• A platform that leverages & reuses common component services (both business & infrastructure) for productivity, efficiency and competitive advantage purposes

• A platform that provides the necessary “plumbing” – rich user experience, dynamic execution environment , intelligent mediation platforms, real time data frameworks, optimal system footprints, dynamic network coordination, automated orchestration and tooling to enable autonomic management, monitoring & reporting.

Like we had to, leading organizations are driven to implement a Service Oriented IT Platform to transform their legacy infrastructure and operating models to address: • How to become more flexible and responsive to the dynamic needs of the business • How to simplify & reduce the complexity of the IT environment • How to get more value out of project & operational IT spend – both systems & people • How to reduce costs while delivering improved service • How to eliminate dedicated silos of data, systems and infrastructure as they exist today • How to reduce the time it takes to build and deploy new business services • How to implement and sustain predictable qualities of service

The target goal of the SOIT platform is to produce flexible, demand based services that respond to the business “as needed, when needed” in four key areas: • Business services – (information, automated logic, intelligent analysis) • Infrastructure services – (federated query, caching, execution, messaging) • Infrastructure resources – (storage, network, compute) • Performance Management – (service execution that alleviates/minimize any compute, memory, I/O or bandwidth limitations and meets service levels)

We found that this helps organizations address datacenter management challenges of: • Data Center Automation • Data Center Space, Power, Cooling • Network Bandwidth • Enterprise Systems Management • Dynamic Infrastructure Operational Processes • Technical skill set evolution to support dynamic infrastructure

To do this, from our experience, we have found that organizations must create a business aligned IT operating environment. This environment needs to incorporate industry best practices from SEI, ITIL, Virtualization, Open Standards and Open Source to create a platform that delivers IT as a service. The core building blocks of this strategy are: • Service Oriented Architecture – create discrete business functions, decoupled from the business process as loosely coupled software components • Real Time Infrastructure – a virtual, dynamic runtime environment • Service Oriented Utility – policy driven consumption & fulfillment management • Service Oriented Product Management – repeatable discipline that defines the products, services, policies and infrastructure for SOA, SOI and SOU.

The key attributes and guiding tenants in design of SOIT platform are: SOA • Components & Services are loosely coupled • Components & Services are not implementation protocol specific (ie. Are not required to be Web Services) • Business logic components & services will not be hard-wired to data stores • Business logic will not inherit or embed infrastructure services/classes RTI • Virtual execution management control for all service processing • Entry points for events or service requests will be one of three manners • Message framework (publish/subscribe or EMS) • Grid Service (scheduled, on-demand, adhoc) • Fabric Service (application server container originated) • Dynamic allocation based on service contract requirements of speed, throughput, load, calendar, wall clock, costs/margin rules… • Real time transaction workload management that synchronizes wire state with execution management service contract requirements • Autonomic management capabilities • Application Performance Management • Network Performance Management • Consumption & Usage Monitoring • Global Management Dashboard View • Global Dynamic Load-balancing • Global Dynamic Message brokering • Global Transactional Data Caching & Synchronization • Global Federated Query Capabilities • Meta-data repository & Governance • Data Transformation Service • Java EE Services • Policy Driven bare-metal infrastructure provisioning & configuration management • Appliance layer • Automated interface/stub generation of services • Logging – task, resource, user, transaction, job, etc… • Reporting – Usage, SLA, Trending, Service Unit Allocation, Efficiency, etc… SOU • ITIL/ITOM Leveraged best practices • Follow the wall clock resource service unit allocation • Proactive Capacity Management • On-boarding & Pipeline Management Processes • Multiple Service Fulfillment Strategies • Capacity Innovation process • Various System, Network Attached Devices and Network footprints • Dynamic Network Routing • Variable cost & chargeback model SOPM • Business & IT Alignment for all priority settings • Service Level Discipline – Fit for purpose model • Product & Service Life cycles – software factory model • Governance as an enabler • Service & Product Catalogue – Repeatable Consumption • Systems Integration Team – Do it right the first time • Utility Infrastructure & Operations – End to End optimization • Portfolio Management – managing our reusable assets • Efficiency, Effectiveness continuous improvement mindset • Best practices – design, build, release, deploy, operate • Franchise model – repeatable steps, playbooks by function, scalable SOIT Platform strategy needs to be driven by an organization’s business priorities.

It is these priorities that set the drivers from which an application, system and network infrastructure strategy can be created. We have outlined strategies for how we defined and incorporated the business drivers with our SOIT Platform strategy in my previous blogs and articles. Bottom line, is the compelling drivers of global business and increasing importance of IT as the digital value chain of the business, positions IT executives and their organizations to be more strategic and critical than ever before in the history of IT. To succeed, IT organizations must transform from a “lights-on” culture to a “strategic differentiation thru IT” culture. The SOIT Platform is a design approach that has been proven to deliver a real time, service orientation of IT that helps differentiate business offerings.

More Stories By Tony Bishop

Blueprint4IT is authored by a longtime IT and Datacenter Technologist. Author of Next Generation Datacenters in Financial Services – Driving Extreme Efficiency and Effective Cost Savings. A former technology executive for both Morgan Stanley and Wachovia Securities.

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