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back to article Whatever happened to self-service computing?

According to Gartner's Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle for 2012, cloud computing has passed the peak of inflated expectations and is heading for the trough of disillusionment at full speed. Cloud computing didn't live up to the overblown hype. We have to get over the disappointment before we start to rationally accept the …

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Silver badge

Self service requires one of two things:

Trustworthy knowledgable users

or

Systems that are so simple that they can't really be configured wrongly (or if so, where a basic user is able to fix it), or systems so smart that everything is automated.

We're screwed.

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Silver badge

Exactly.

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Anonymous Coward

bypassing IT

I've often heard the theory of departments able to magically produce cloud-based solutions without the need for IT. Yet I always think back to the myriad of companies I've worked for and fail to imagine who would implement it.

The main problem is designating one or more people to work on it, integrating it into existing systems and, if necessary, using another company computing resource as an input/output.

Even if the solution is created and used somehow it becomes IT's problem when it goes wrong or fails.

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Devil

Re: bypassing IT

""The main problem is designating one or more people to work on it, integrating it into existing systems and, if necessary, using another company computing resource as an input/output.""

Thus turning those people into "IT guys".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bypassing IT

It would also lead to having 20 odd accounts with different suppliers for essentially the same product, because nobody can get everybody to use the same account with the same supplier because they all want admin accounts, but nobody wants 19 other people with questionable competence to have access to crash their application.

Which means you pay about 20 times as much, because those 20 users all use under 5% of the available capacity they pay for.

Until somebody comes up with the radical idea of having a centralised department with a couple of competent people in it managing one service and supplying everybody.

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SaaS, IaaS and ... PaaS?

Do people really use acronyms like this daily? I look at this stuff - including any mention of "cloud" - and all I see is "BUZZWORD! BUZZWORD! BUZZWORD! BUZZWORD!". Yawn.

And if the people I work with (and have worked with over the years) are anything to go by, I agree with the posters above me: truly self-service IT is a dream that will probably never be realised. If there's one thing I've learned it's that idiot-proofing something is just asking society/Darwin/$deity to produce a better idiot.

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Anonymous Coward

No disappointment here!

"According to Gartner's Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle for 2012, cloud computing has passed the peak of inflated expectations and is heading for the trough of disillusionment at full speed. Cloud computing didn't live up to the overblown hype."

There's no disappointment here... 'cause I knew that cloud hype was nothing but bullshit.

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Pirate

Buzzword bingo anyone?

Surprised no webdev hack has created some sort of buzzword bingo site based on the Reg

....or more usefully, a buzzmeter plugin so I can compare ratio of BS words (cloud / Gartner / xaaS / tablet) against norm. Done well I could filter all the sales hype from tech site affiliates automatically.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Buzzword bingo anyone?

A colleague had a buzzword generator. He wrote his reports in plain language. The buzzword generator then rolled out copies suitably modified for whichever level of management was receiving it.

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Pint

Re: Buzzword bingo anyone?

Github it or it didn't happen ;)

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Facepalm

Meh

The whole imperative in IT self-service is to cut the geeks out of the equation - always was, always will be; to create flexible and brilliant systems that highly socialised non-geek managers and mid-level workers can use to realise their objectives without the need for any interstitial nerds. As one of those nerds, I'm not offended by this, twas ever thus.

But neither do I feel overly threatened. Time and again I have seen the target audience for these systems inevitably come crawling back to the Geek Squad, because they possess so little technical or geek acumen that they don't even know which questions they need to ask. NASA-style, they're not scared, because they don't understand the problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

The true nerds are getting scarcer. Companies often see them as overheads and don't provide an environment to nurture the next generation.

Many people now have their knowledge constrained by the treadmill of obtaining, and perpetually re-certifying, narrow mandatory paper qualifications. They are usually blinkered outside the confines of what has been ordained "the knowledge". They know given facts but often lack a wider understanding.

An anecdote of only a few years ago. A certified designer of networks asked a question -"what does 'mega' mean?". His job was basically putting customer requirements into the network equipment supplier's design tool and turning the handle.

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Anonymous Coward

A society based on technology gradually makes the end products easier to use. At the same time the support processes become simplified and very dependent on automation. The number of people who understand the systems' principles and overall complexity gradually decreases - and no one person understands it all.

There was a time when the IT industry was vertically integrated - knowledge, research, development etc were all in house. Nowadays the supply chain is fragmented with many layers merely managing the supply of components and services.

Eighty years ago the average person could understand and maintain their personal transport - a bicycle. Then the car became popular - and an infrastructure of maintenance facilities evolved to support it. Eventually the maintenance that the average person could do was reduced to putting water in the windscreen washer. Even the driving became more automated with automatic gears and ABS etc. Satnav removes the need for map reading or any concept of relative geography. The removal of the human from the driving process is on the horizon.

Fiction has already postulated the end result in Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" and E M Forster's "The Machine Stops".

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FAIL

"This is a shame: self-service has helped drive down costs in many other industries."

Oh yea...a REAL shame...about the millions of workers put OUT OF WORK by such things.

Gee...wonder why worldwide unemployment is at record levels? Hmmm.

Forgive me...I forgot all the good "driving down costs" has done for the pocketbooks of the business owners & CEOs. How thoughtless of me for that.

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Trollface

"about the millions of workers put OUT OF WORK by such things."

ItsNotMe, The 1970's just called... they want their rhetoric back!

Did you know the industrial revolution and mechanization was a conspiracy to cut costs and put people out of work.. honestly!

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Anonymous Coward

No longer would the IT department be the gatekeeper to resources

That statement alone basically sums up everything that is wrong with how the Cloud is portrayed!

The bulk of users are technically stupid... Several times over the past couple of years I have seen Sales/Marketing/Management sold on a flashy website that promises to take them to business nirvana, they rush to sign a 3 year contract then soon realise the service is useless. They then either a) Call in IT to try and fix it or b) sweep it under the rug as a OpEx expenditure.

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Facepalm

The people who can already self serve...

...already are.

What's the t-shirt say: "As a matter of fact, it IS rocket science."

But mostly, IT is still a labyrinth at night with half the lights out and walls constantly caving in.

Self serve? Pull my other one.

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Silver badge

End user self-service works in exactly one situation

Single-user of a very commonly needed resource.

In other words, personal webmail.

The moment the company needs multi-user, for example "All email must be @ company domain X", you must have a central administrator to select, register and maintain that.

Without that, it will fragment, break and/or expire, probably all three.

Would you let employees buy other infrastructure (chair, desk, company car, office building etc) without oversight?

What is so different about IT that you'd consider letting them buy cloud services that way?

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Probably not a good idea....

To try and by pass IT. It seem anyone marketer want to take to the upper management, just to tell them we do cloud too and buy are conveniently obfuscated reality. I even let them take so far as to allow one of our application to be placed in the "the cloud". I than attached managements emails to the alias they wanted for "cloud" issues. Didn't take them long to come to the conclusion it was a poorly thought out decision.

1) If you're competent in IT, cloud is nothing special, it has purpose, but in no way does it seem to abstract your sysadmins from the equation. I have some real uses for OpenStack if we implement it, but none of which involve a third party.

2) SAAS is a good idea, but one, do I need to host it on a third party, and two do my developers know how to develop for SAAS. Chances are no. At least most of the ones I have met. They seem to still be looking at tit as a just another web application, when its more elaborate than that.

3) Cost. I love seeing all this "cost saving" mentality, when it seems everyone is selling the redundancy. I have yet to see a cloud stack offer the whole gambit of their talking points at a price level the CFO thinks he'll get. Not everyone is a Fortune 500, and we all don't really need the 5 nines.

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