Lots of things get airtime when it comes to cloud. The cloud brings exciting new ways of delivering IT. It will solve world hunger and bring peace to middle earth, etc. I’m not here to say it won’t do these things. I’m here to talk about something that is definitely less exciting.
Why devote precious space on this blog to change management and cloud? Because it’s important. In fact, change management is the glue that holds together this whole house of cards. I’ve been thinking about it lately because of the latest AWS outage. In a great Information Week article, Charles Babcock explores the causes and outcomes of the recent AWS Christmas outage. This was a particularly nasty outage as it hit one of their biggest customers on one of that customer’s most important days of the year.
The root cause of the outage was a developer who made a change to a production system and deleted some important control information. Because of the fact that cloud is a highly automated environment, that mistake quickly cascaded out of control. Read that sentence again. The automation inherent in cloud makes it so that a single mistake can quickly compound into a huge failure.
AWS’s solution was to implement a new change management procedure. As good as we are at foreseeing the unlikely, there is always something that we are going to miss. Change management is not just a nice thing to have in the cloud, it is now more important than ever.
When you are evaluating cloud management and lifecycle management products for your private or public cloud environments, make sure that change management is integrated into the fabric of the product. Everything that happens should not necessarily require change approval, but it should be possible to make everything go through a change approval. BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management takes this rigorous approach, allowing the administrator to tune things so that change management is not disruptive to the end-user, while still giving IT the control it needs to ensure performance and availability.
The largest cloud provider in the world relies on change management to keep things running smoothly, and you should be too.
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