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Information technology service management (ITSM) codifies and supports the current best practices in the management and governance of existing IT infrastructures, including the computing infrastructure that underlies service delivery. Once ITSM tools have identified and structured current best practices, there is a significant opportunity to simplify those practices, and thereby ITSM in general, by introducing self-managing resources (SMRs). SMRs and related technologies allow increased delegation of existing ITSM tasks from humans to autonomic managers and the restructuring of ITSM activities through process modification and task replacement or elimination. In particular, the use of SMRs and virtualization can convert many activities that currently require multiple planning, validation, and approval tasks into routine activities that have a simpler task flow, in much the same way that modern file systems have transformed file-layout tasks that formerly required a skilled administrator into tasks that are handled entirely and transparently by the operating system. This paper briefly describes the general principles of SMRs, explores a number of potential impacts that this technology will have on ITSM processes, and illustrates these ideas with an analysis of how selected ITSM flows may be transformed.
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