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In many IT organizations, two camps have formed. The agility advocates want to unleash the power of virtualization technology, giving it free rein to flex the IT infrastructure for maximum agility. The control advocates want to rein in virtualization technology through control processes. They fear that lack of control opens the door to problems.

The two camps are in conflict. Agility advocates view control advocates as placing unnecessary restrictions on agility. Control advocates look at agility advocates as exposing the organization to unnecessary risk.

Both camps have valid concerns. Too much control hampers agility. Too much agility exposes the organization to risk. Striking the right balance is a difficult challenge.

Based on our experience working with many IT professionals who are tackling this challenge, we have come up with seven principles for a service management strategy in the virtualized world. By applying these principles you can find the optimum balance between control and agility. In so doing, you can bring about a peaceful solution that brings the two groups together. As a result, you can tap the unprecedented agility offered by virtualization, without exposing your organization to risk.

1. Embrace all types of change.
Changes occur through manual and automatic activities. Some changes are planned; some are not. Some are authorized; some are not.

  • Planned changes are anticipated and scheduled in advance. The manual provisioning of a new physical server and an update to a server operating system are good examples.
  • Unplanned changes may be anticipated, but they are not scheduled ahead of time. A manual fix to restore a failed server and automatic failover are examples of unplanned changes.
  • Authorized changes have all the proper approvals in place. Moreover, if they are manual changes, they are performed by a person authorized to make the change.
  • Unauthorized changes don't have proper approvals, or they are performed by someone who isn't authorized to make the change.

An effective service management approach accommodates all four combinations: unplanned/unauthorized, unplanned/authorized, planned/unauthorized, and planned/authorized.


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