What is enterprise IT as a service?

By: Pedro Soares


Before you can understand what enterprise IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) is, you must first wrap your mind around enterprise IT. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define enterprise IT as the secure consumption of services from two or more sources, including private cloud, public cloud or traditional IT, to enable:

  • Integration of applications, data and services.
  • Composition, orchestration and management of workloads.
  • Portability of data and applications.

Enterprise IT is also about the user-centric experience. It’s often based on self-service, exposing a range of services that can be consumed by several users in any given organization. It aims to simplify the complexity of the choices infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and even software-as-a-service bring to every business.

Now, to fully recognize how enterprise ITaaS can benefit your business, a more granular perspective is needed. This service model can be broken into four layers:

1. Infrastructure

Starting at the bottom is the best way to describe the enterprise ITaaS model. In the infrastructure layer, you can have many combinations of cloud and traditional IT. The cloud element can be private, public or a combination of the two. This is a complex environment, as each provider will have specific portfolios, services and options. The most effective way to mitigate this intricacy is to virtualize as much as possible. Doing so creates a manageable abstraction for computing, storage and network options.

2. Modular services

Modular services bring an open, flexible and integrated approach to design, build and run digital business solutions. These services are managed by experts using established best practices and provide cutting-edge capabilities from a rich ecosystem of partners. They are improved continuously through advanced analytics, automation and cognitive technology.

This is where all the as-a-service offerings — workplace, resiliency, automation and beyond — are materialized. Security and compliance are, of course, embedded into all of these. The underlying concept is that every service or combination of services can be used regardless of the choices in the previous layer.

3. Provisioning and orchestration

The main mission of the provisioning and orchestration layer is to automate infrastructure deployment. It provides the hybrid cloud management that activates and deactivates resources. It also enables the orchestration of activities to deploy complex patterns and blueprints on private and public clouds.

Another important function it provides is the continuous design and deployment of new assets and the maintenance of existing ones. This is a mechanism that must be in place to ensure all assets are designed, developed and integrated into the same context.

4. Broker and service catalog

The top layer of this puzzle is the broker and service catalog. This makes it possible for the assets built in the orchestration layer to be executed in a flexible way, while the broker ensures full control. A broker can accomplish the full spectrum of a supply chain in an automated, normalized and consistent way. Doing so enables versatility and control, creating an end-to-end life cycle management experience of IT services. This layer is not simply an aggregation of content from multiple catalogs as is. Rather, it provides a federated experience for each user.

There will be cases where additional layers may be needed, especially if application development views are joined to this stack. Options like software development and IT operations are not excluded and can be part of this model for full enterprise IT deployment. For more on this topic, check out DevOps and Hybrid Infrastructure Synergy, and connect with me on Twitter @pgspsoares.

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About The Author

Pedro Soares

Executive Architect, IBM

Pedro Soares is an Executive Architect working for IBM Global Technology Services. He's been creating IT solutions for more than 20 years, and mostly for IBM. Started as a Systems Engineer on Operating Systems and then moved to a more Network oriented perspective, then IT Systems Management, a bit of Security, and for the last... Read more