Service Catalogs. Why have just one? Federate.
In the era of multi/hybrid cloud, when it seems like almost every organization is trying to get their arms around how they’re going to manage their hybrid cloud ecosystem, one question keeps coming up – What service catalog will be OUR service catalog?
Often times, the default answer is based on what is already started/implemented. Usually, this means the inherent catalog of the ITSM system (i.e. ServiceNow) or the private cloud platform (i.e. vRealize). Additional services (i.e. public cloud) are made available to the enterprise in the centralized catalog by selectively integrating to the public cloud providers’ APIs, instrumented within the specific (usually proprietary) template / orchestration functionality of the ITSM system or the private cloud platform.
This approach has the benefit of protecting the existing investment. Though it is often a nascent investment, it is at least comfortable. This centralized approach is also easy to control, within the capabilities/limitations of what the legacy systems and processes have been designed to do.
Our point of view – in this case the default answer is not the best answer. We firmly believe in aggregation, with governance, to bring more value to the enterprise, but we believe the centralized model is limiting and not nearly scalable enough to enable the enterprise to realize the potential benefits of multi/hybrid cloud. We believe the federated model is the best approach – and not just to the question of the catalog, but to the user experience and to the operational processes as well. Federation is a pattern in enterprise architecture that allows interoperability and information sharing between semi-autonomous de-centrally managed systems. Federated models do not merge the properties of individual models into a single system/database. Federation has been proven again and again across a multitude of industries and business models to be more scalable.
So, the answer to the which catalog question is… ALL catalogs. Instead of putting your efforts into centralizing and extending your existing catalog, with its inherent limitations, focus your efforts on how you can leverage the many catalogs in your ecosystem, adding in capabilities for centralized governance.
That’s fundamentally the philosophy behind what IBM is doing with the Brokerage Service within our Hybrid Cloud Management solution – federate consumption and aggregate visibility.