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1.4. Journey to a Mature vCloud Implementation

At every stage in the processes leading to a mature vCloud implementation, financial transparency, process maturity, organizational setup, and technology implementation are critical factors for success.

VMware defines three stages on the journey to a mature vCloud: Standardize, Service Broker, and Strategic Partner. Figure 1.4 depicts these, and the following sections describe them.


FIGURE 1.4. Journey states in vCAT

1.4.1. Stage 1: Standardize

Stage 1 often coincides with a more mature server virtualization environment, and the focus is on creating a working vCloud solution with an on-demand service catalog end users can directly access. The service catalog provides rapid deployment services for non-business-critical, development, and test environments, as well as for externally sourced applications. Implementing the service catalog promotes cloud acceptance by business users and also outlines a long-term vCloud implementation strategy with planning for operational and organizational change. The following capabilities are important for this stage:

  • Financial model and measurement: Awareness and understanding of the costs of assets and underlying infrastructure capacity.
  • People and organization: Specialized but shared roles for managing virtualized environments.
  • No explicit virtualization Center of Excellence established.
  • Process and control:

    • IT processes are adapted for virtualization but are largely manual, with specific, customized interprocess integration.
    • The focus is on limited, continuous improvement.
  • Tools and technology:

    • Online, self-service capability for development and test provisioning
    • Online, self-service capability for Software as a Service (SaaS)–based applications
    • Operational tools defined for virtualization environments
    • Some business workloads run in a virtualized environment, whether internal or provided by third parties

1.4.2. Stage 2: Service Broker

Stage 2 is the first service-driven stage for a vCloud. At this stage, IT has transformed from traditional models and is focused on delivering business services within a vCloud environment. This represents a cultural shift within the organization. To be successful, it requires enhanced IT operational maturity, an optimized IT organizational structure, and supporting cloud-management tools.

The term service broker implies that IT is organized at this stage to source internally and externally, such as adding external infrastructure capacity or providing access to vendor-based SaaS applications. The business is not necessarily aware of how the services are made available, but dramatically decreased development and provisioning times support business needs with increased quality of service and greater agility.

This stage focuses on the following goals:

  • Gaining alignment and buy-in from key business stakeholders
  • Creating service governance, lifecycle and service design, and development processes
  • Providing service-based financial transparency
  • Automating and integrating tools and technology in internal and external systems

Key capabilities for this stage include the following:

  • Financial model and measurement:

    • Using usage metering and cost showback
    • Applying granular costing of underlying infrastructure assets
    • Educating IT customers about paying for services as an operating expense
    • Changing from project-based budgeting to demand-based budgeting
  • People and organization: Establishing the Center of Excellence with dedicated, experienced, and knowledgeable staff
  • Process and control:

    • Fully integrated IT operational processes adapted for virtualization and vCloud
    • Agile-based service design and development processes established
    • Service-level financial transparency
  • Tools and technology:

    • Services defined and offered through an online consumer portal for self-service access to the service catalog
    • vCloud-level disaster recovery
    • Blueprint and policy-driven service development and provisioning
    • Purpose-built management tools for proactive vCloud operations

1.4.3. Stage 3: Strategic Differentiator

This stage is the final stage for a mature cloud. At this point, a highly efficient, scalable cloud with hybrid capability is available for an organization. IT is delivered as a service. Automated, policy-driven governance and control applies across the vCloud environment, with zero-touch operations supported by predictive and self-healing operational tool capabilities. True application mobility and device-independent access is available. The vCloud is considered to be the de facto model within the organization. The term strategic differentiator implies that IT has changed roles and become a business differentiator by increasing agility, resulting in faster time to market; increasing efficiency, resulting in reduced costs; and increasing reliability, resulting in dramatically increased quality of service. The following are key capabilities for this stage:

  • Financial model and measurement:

    • Usage-based pricing and chargeback for services provided to business customers
    • Service demand–based budgeting
    • Priced catalog of service offerings
  • People and organization: The Center of Excellence manages all elements of infrastructure, end-user, and application operations.
  • Process and control:

    • Optimized, integrated, and fully automated IT processes that enhance business agility and efficiency
    • Continuous process, service, and performance improvements based on predictive capabilities
  • Tools and technology:

    • Full hybrid capabilities
    • Tools that support single-pane-of-glass management across private and public vCloud environments
    • Service-level disaster recovery
    • Tools that support automated corrective actions for self-healing
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