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Infrastructure as a Service is a provision model in use by business to outsource hardware requirements. The cloud provider owns the equipment. The client pays for usage.

Introduction

In defining Infrastructure as a Service we need to understand the specific features that a cloud platform provider supplies so that the service he provides is considered Infrastructure as a Service. To understand Infrastructure as a Service we need to look at the essential characteristics found in Infrastructure as a Service.

Infrastructure as a Service – Dynamic Scaling

Dynamic scaling enables the organisation to increase and decrease their hardware and processing requirement as and when required. Dynamic scaling may be driven by application requirements or seasonal computing demand of the organisation.

This is an important characteristic of Information as a Service; if customers need more resources they can get them immediately.

Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service

Service Levels

Infrastructure as a Service is offered in different flavours to organisations. Organisations may rent capacity based on an on-demand model with no contract. In other situations, the organisation signs a contract for a specific amount of storage and processing capacity.

A typical Information as a Service contract has a level of service guarantee included. The entry level may guarantee basic services while at the top-end a mirrored service with almost no change-of-service interruptions is the norm.

Rental Model

When organisations use computing resources from a cloud provider, the servers, storage, and all required IT infrastructure components are rented, based on the quantity of resources used and how long they’re in use.

In the private Information as a Service model, renting takes on a different focus. Organisations typically allocate usage fees to individual departments based on their weekly, monthly and yearly usage. With this flexibility, organisations can charge more of the budget to heavy users.

Licensing

Infrastructure as a Service providers typically use a metering process to charge organisations based on the instance of computing consumed. An instance is defined as the CPU power and the memory and storage space consumed in an hour. When an instance is initiated, hourly charges begin to accumulate until the instance is terminated.

In addition to the basic per-instance charge, the cloud provider may include the following charges:

  • Storage: A per-gigabyte (GB) charge for the persistent storage of data.
  • Data transfer: A per-GB charge for data transfers. The fee may drop if you move large amounts of data during the billing month. Some providers offer free inbound data transfers or free transfers between separate instances on the same provider.
  • Optional services: Charges for services such as reserved IP addresses, virtual private network (VPN), advanced monitoring capabilities, or support services.

 Conclusion

Infrastructure as a Service is a provision model organisations use to outsource hardware required to perform their business. Many organizations select a hybrid approach — using private services in combination with public cloud services. This approach is attractive because an organisation can leverage its private cloud resources but use trusted public cloud services to manage peak loads.

Technician licenses to access the Help Desk are available as Named and Concurrent licenses. A Named license is allocated to a single Technician and Concurrent licenses are allocated to  groups of Technicians

Introduction

IT managers purchasing Technician licenses to access the help desk are often confused by the Named and Concurrent license models available to them. It is understandable that the terms can be confusing, so let’s take a closer look at each one of them.

Technician licenses – Named

A Named license is allocated to each Technician that requires access to the help desk solution. For example, if you have 50 Technicians who access the help desk, you will need 50 Named licenses; one license for each Technician. Microsoft often refers to this type of licensing as “Per Seat” licensing. It is interesting to note that this license model is often cheaper than the Concurrent license model on a one-to-one basis.

Technician Licenses – Concurrent

The Concurrent license model is more flexible than the Named license model.  Using this model a group of Technicians are assigned to a single Concurrent license. However, only one Technician at a time from the group can use the “Concurrent” license. The remaining Technicians in the group have to wait for the license to become available before the next one can use it.

Technician licenses

Technician licenses

Usage of License Types

The purpose of offering two license models is to create flexibility for the IT manager. For example, call centre operators are allocated Named Technician licenses because they need permanent access to the help desk solution. On the other hand, Technicians who log in periodically are allocated Concurrent licenses. They are often busy at remote locations and only need access to the help desk to update or close a call.

Common License Model Confusion

The term Concurrent license is confusing at times. A common misunderstanding is that Concurrent implies that all licensed Technicians can log in simultaneously. This understanding is incorrect. When a group of Technicians are assigned to a Concurrent license, the first Technician to log in is granted access. The others will have to wait until the Concurrent license becomes available. Rather use Named Technician licenses if all your Technicians must log in simultaneously.

License Costing Model

Historically the Named license is less expensive than the Concurrent License. However, that may not be entirely true because you can allocate 2 or more Technicians to a single Concurrent license which brings the price of the Concurrent license down considerably.

Conclusion

Named and Concurrent Technician licenses are both very important license models for the IT manger. Using both license models together saves money and creates flexibility. The IT manager no longer needs to purchase a Named license for each Technician when one Concurrent license will be enough for his group of Technicians.

Align IT business metrics for the service desk with your business goals. This helps business understand the financial value a Service Desk adds to the organisation.

Introduction:

IT Metrics form a vital component of any service desk. Traditionally they focus on the performance of the service desk. However, in this format, they do not convey how the Service Desk benefits business.

There is no connection between IT effort and business productivity when using traditional IT Metrics. The challenge for IT is to effectively communicate the business benefits of a well-run Service Desk. This can only be achieved by aligning IT metrics with business goals.

Problems Reporting IT Metrics:

Service Desks struggle to measure and report service metrics in terms understood by business. Reporting issues are:

  • Limited communication with business and incorrectly translating metrics into terminology understood by business.
  • Difficulty translating customer satisfaction into tangible business value.
  • Lack of common metrics reporting terminology between the Service Desk and business.
  • There is a conflict between the Service Desk KPIs and customer expectations.
  • Identifying service improvement opportunities is difficult when focused on day-to-day operations of the Service Desk.
  • Often there is no clear owner for reporting metrics to business.
  • Forecasting service desk costs and expenditure to business is difficult due to the large number of variables.

Communicate IT Support Goals In Business Terms:

Clarify the connection between IT and Business by documenting IT goals using business terminology. This changes the perception that IT has no role in improving productivity and revenue generation.

Aligning Service Desk Business Metrics with business goals will change the business view of IT being a cost centre to a profit centre.

For business to understand IT goals they need to be written using business terminology. Currently this is not happening.

Look at the differences between the IT and Business goals:

IT Support Goals Business Goals
  • Minimise service disruptions
  • Increase sales by 5% each quarter
  • Minimise length of the service disruption
  • Reduce annual operation cost by 5%
  • Reduce cost per call
  • Expand customer base by 20%
  • Meet service level goals
  • Increase repeat business by 5% each

The Support goals are written in IT terms. As you can see, they do not support the Business goals. In addition, the Business goals do not have a dependency on technology.

To rectify the problem, write the IT goals from a business perspective:

IT Support Goals IT Support Goals From a Business Perspective
  • Minimise service disruptions
  • Increase productivity and service quality using expedient and accurate problem resolution
  • Minimise length of the service disruption
  • Reduce cost per call
  • Streamline processes that impact the customer
  • Meet service level goals
  • Improve customer expectations for services.

With a few changes in terms and phrasing, the IT goals are now business-focussed.

However, current IT metrics reporting is not well understood by business and will need to undergo significant change. Making the data meaningful to business requires a fresh approach to IT Metrics reporting. This is achieved by:

  • Augmentation
    No changes are made to reports. A supplementary explanation of the correlation between IT report data and business goals is added.
  • Modification
    Reports are modified to better present information to business. Supplementary explanations are added because the underlying metrics have not been changed.
  • Transformation
    Metrics are modified to more accurately reflect achievement of business related goals. This approach yields the most meaningful change in reporting for business.

IT Goals and Business Value:

Communicating the value that IT and Support add to Business improves the perception management has of IT Services. However, the current business view of IT will only improve when IT aligns with the business goals.

Conclusion:

Reporting IT Business Metrics in terms that business understands aligns IT with business goals. This shift in focus presents the IT department as a profit centre instead of a cost centre.

Now more than ever, IT must invest the time to understand the business goals and to translate IT Metrics to reflect impact to these goals

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