Monday, February 6, 2012

Get your head in the cloud!

IT organization must continue to drive forward with their internal compute cloud. Working with a traditional silo mentality that was developed when we only had physical servers isn’t the best solution for today’s highly virtualized world. With traditional server architecture that had a single Windows server OS on a physical piece of hardware and local storage there were very few service options we could provide. Isolation in the contemporary model of production, acceptance, and development worked because they were all on a single physical piece of equipment. However, in the past few years IT has learned through the birth of the cloud, which is nothing more than a highly virtualized compute cluster, that we are capable of becoming much more service oriented and we can offer a broad portfolio of infrastructure service options that our IT business partners are demanding. These solutions can include availability, DR RTO, restore RPO, capacity, performance, and security.

In adopting this model it will help IT organizations show they are competitive from a cost standpoint with their internal infrastructure (compute, memory, storage, networking, and infrastructure OPEX), and it moves them in the direction of helping their enterprise become more agile, service oriented, and cost effective.

Recently I had a conversation with a business partner in my organization with our SalesForce initiative. She was telling me that the primary mission for the SalesForce solution is to support business strategies and speed up delivery in the application development world. IT organizations need to focus on delivering a dynamic datacenter that can help their business partners get products to market faster.

Here is Gartner’s analysis from the 2012 Planning Guide – Data Center, Infrastructure, Operations, and Internal Cloud:

“The rise of the public cloud and the growth of remote and mobile users are catalyzing a major transformation in the data center. Many IT organizations are feeling the pressure to compete with external providers and to support a workforce armed with a range of devices and functionality. In 2012, IT organizations need continue this transformation by becoming the broker to all IT services (internal or external), which starts by offering IT as a service on top of a highly virtualized and economized infrastructure. To accomplish this goal, IT organizations must invest in technologies and software that enable them to build internal clouds, to rearchitect the desktop, to bridge to external clouds, to accommodate mobile users, and to economize and harden every aspect of the data center.

In 2012, IT organizations must continue to embrace this transformation; they must stop being the central delivery point for all IT services and become an IT service broker. This means they must facilitate IT services consumption for their internal customers by doing two things: Build secure and efficient internal cloud that can compete with external providers, support a mobile and remote workforce, house applications and data that cannot be hosted in the public cloud, and connect to the external cloud to augment capacity; and at the same time, leverage, vet, and recommend external providers that can meet businesses' new requirements for increased agility and cost efficiency.

The consequences of not embracing this data center and operational transformation can be profound. If IT organizations fail to offer IT as a services from internal and external clouds or resist supporting remote users, internal customers will spend their IT budget elsewhere (or lobby to reorganize how to pay for IT services) and eventually bypass the IT organization to meet their needs.”

IT organizations must not only adapt to these changes in business requirements and culture; but they must drive this change. Even when we are faced with adversity, they need to stay focused on their end results and adjust their initial vision of a service oriented model to meet alternative business and security requirements. IT organizations must always adjust and find innovative ways to deliver the results which enable their business partners with flexibility and agility, while maintaining business and security requirements.

It is a captivating time to be in information technology. Traditional IT is changing dramatically; and IT infrastructure organization are at the epicenter of that transformation with virtualization.
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