In the last couple of weeks, I have been asked to participate in several meetings with our virtualization specialists to help a client with a few issues. Now, I know very little about the technical aspects of virtualization, but I do know a few things about processes and organizations. So, when they asked me my thoughts on one of the issues (application deployment), my first thought was to find out how they performed that function with a physical server. We then mapped out their process. Next we mapped how it should be done in a virtual environment. And lastly, we mapped how they were actually doing it in the virtual environment.
Comparing the way they did it with a physical server to the way they were doing it with a virtual machine, we quickly discovered nothing had changed. They were trying to do things the same way.
IT organizations constantly complain that when they put in new technology, the business users never achieve the full benefit of the technology because they refuse to change the way they do things (and IT then gets blamed for the technology underachieving expectations). But who to blame when the ‘business’ user is IT? It will either be the consultant who helped them put it in, or the technology itself. Excuses like, “we tried virtualization and it just didn’t work here” or “virtualization is just not for us” start to be voiced, and, viola, the technology once again failed to meet expectations.
Why did the virtualization project fail? Because we focused on the wrong things; we focused on the technology and ignored the process and people.
Virtualization is a tool. It is a technology that, to get the full benefit, requires the IT organization to change the way they do certain things. If you don’t change the way you do things, you won’t ever get the benefit of the tool. Intuitively, everyone knows this. But how many are doing something about it?
If you are heading into a virtualization project or expanding on work you’ve already started, it is imperative you review your processes for how you do things currently in the ‘physical’ world, and how you’ll do things in the future in the ‘virtual’ world. Not doing so will limit your potential.
Let me know your thoughts!