By Matt Brown, IT Customer Engagement - NetApp on NetApp, NetApp IT
To be successful in today’s fast-paced business world, IT must develop the ability to consume change at the rate of business while providing stable operations 24x7. Achieving this is more easily said than done, as I discussed in my first blog on why mastering a strong, stable IT operation is critical to becoming agile.
The first step is to stabilize IT operations. That means gaining the ability to quickly enable operational change while mitigating as much risk as possible. To do this effectively requires greater visibility into how the business is consuming IT assets and services. A mature configuration management database (CMDB) is the secret to unearthing this visibility. The CMDB serves as a single source of truth to manage the relationships between IT assets—from data center, network, virtual storage, etc., all the way up through business capabilities.
But like everything in IT, the move to a stable environment involves more than deploying new tools. We had to develop a new culture, improve skills, embrace automation, and create new policies and processes. We had to move from a reactionary mindset to one focused on proactive, non-disruptive service delivery.
Below are seven lessons NetApp IT learned as it transformed its approach and methodology to enable infrastructure operational stability:
With visibility and understanding of our IT environment from top to bottom and availability of the most current information in one place, we can perform risk assessments and system implementations, and make other decisions with minimal risk to daily business operations. More importantly, we significantly increased the rate at which we can consume change while remaining operationally stable. Over time, we proved we could handle more change with minimal impact even as our budget shrank.
Having standards for our entire operations is the foundational cornerstone for operational stability. By adopting standardized practices, we are able to address about 90% of the technology delivery requirements and have provided 99+% stability on the operational side.
Agility Builds on Stability
Operational stability, especially in infrastructure, is a big first step to achieving business agility and delivering IT as a service. In the past year, NetApp IT has achieved a new level of stability by adopting its best practices and maturing the organization. This required moving from a reactive to a proactive mindset and a willingness to look at new ways to leverage technology, standards, and automation to support business needs.
The seven lessons described above helped us gain the ability to stop worrying about our infrastructure and look for new ways to consume change at the rate of business. This trend should continue as we face our future challenges, including adoption of the hybrid cloud and PaaS. It will also help IT face its biggest challenge: recognizing that customer success and business value are achieved when we put our business customers first.
The NetApp-on-NetApp blog series features advice from subject matter experts from NetApp IT who share their real-world experiences using NetApp’s industry-leading storage solutions to support business goals. Want to view learn more about the program? Visit www.NetAppIT.com.