The new version 3 of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) model focuses on management of services making it particularly valuable for architects and developers working on service-oriented architecture (SOA) projects.
With the services focus of ITIL v3 it is destined to become more prominent in the SOA world, said Evelyn Hubbert, senior analyst for infrastructure and operations at Forrester Research Inc., and author of a research report, "ITIL v3: The Evolution From Process To Service Model."
Asked why ITIL v3 is important to SOA, she said the essential reason why the version 3 was developed was to focus on management of services across the organization and not as "a silo of IT." The ITIL focus on the quality and efficiency aligns it with the best practices in SOA, she said.
Like SOA, ITIL's antecedents date back several decades, Hubbert explained in her report. The first booklets in the library of best practices were written from 1986 to 1992 under the auspices of the UK Government Information Infrastructure Management Forum. By the mid 1990s, ITIL, published by UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC), began to focus on services with the publication of two books on service delivery and service support.
Those two books, written from 1996 to 1998, cover the foundation of IT service management (ITSM), which is a set of "management processes that provide guidance and best practices on managing assets, bugs, changes, disasters, efficiency, and finances," Hubbert wrote. The new version of ITIL v3 has been expanded from IT best practices to cover the service lifecycle that aligns with SOA principles in focusing on the business side consumer of services, Hubbert said.
From the ITIL perspective, she said, "SOA is nothing else than repeatable pieces of services which can be used and reused across multiple applications and business processes."
ITIL v3 now includes best practices for design, development, and implementation of strategic service management for an organization, from both the IT and business perspectives, Hubbert said. "Version 3 is about making IT a business partner by providing services to the organization rather than merely providing technology and components to support the business," she wrote in her report.
Like SOA, ITIL now focuses on services, not just from a development perspective, but as a continuous process.
To promote continuing service improvement, the new ITIL version makes use of the best practices developed by quality management guru W. Edwards Deming in the 1950s, Hubbert said. Deming's idea was that companies needed to continually analyze business processes to find where they were failing to meet customer requirements and then make the necessary improvements.
The books in the library that comprise ITIL follow the Deming Cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), Hubbert said, to maintain IT vigilance in making sure services are meeting the business needs.
Specific to SOA, ITIL now covers best practices for architects taking a service strategy approach beginning with how services can replace legacy code to reduce the overall costs of application development and maintenance in their organization, Hubbert said.
"This will be great for cost reduction of folks who are maintaining old COBOL or C code everywhere," she said. "We also have a better structure of our application and reduced complexity of performance management. So the folks in service operation are impacted by this and then the service transition team can work on leveraging and really producing an agile IT when reusing specific designs from the existing code base. The SOA IT folks will gain in scalability as well."