How Big Data Can Finally Make Enterprise IT Efficient

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The Business Impact of Big Data

Many business executives want more information than ever, even though they're already drowning in it.

While most of the conversation these days concerning Big Data has been around what it means to be able to cost-effectively gather and analyze massive amounts of information from a business perspective, one area where the potential value of Big Data is being overlooked is inside the internal IT department.

More than any IT executive cares to admit, there's a lot of educated guesswork that goes into managing the IT department. But with the advent of Big Data, it's now a lot more feasible to analyze the information that IT collects about its internal operations to come up with a much more cost-effective IT strategy. In fact, according to Steve Sams, IBM vice president of site and facilities, customers have been coming to IBM to provide that service as part of a review of their IT operations that, in many instances, has created millions of dollars in savings.

For example, Sams notes that while customers have moved relatively simple applications out onto virtual servers, the more difficult challenge is to determine what complex applications that have in place might be candidates to run on a virtual server, and just as importantly, which of as many as seven different virtualization models might be the best fit for a particular application. Rather than take a guess, Sams says IBM has created a set of tools that gathers all the relevant information that IT executives will need to make an informed decision.

Similarly, IBM is using the same approach to gather information about what applications a customer might have that could run efficiently in the cloud based on the characteristics of the application. Customers can then opt to move those applications to either a public or private cloud depending on which model best serves the business.

In addition, Sams says IBM is also collecting Big Data to help customers analyze their security infrastructure, especially in terms of identifying new types of previously undiscovered threats that can easily be lost inside of thousands of other attacks that are made on a daily basis.

Sams says IBM makes all this work by comparing the information it gathers from its various IT support contracts to create some baselines. It then compares the IT operations of the customer to those results.

Of course, this can create an uncomfortable situation for a lot of IT executives who take pride in their existing IT operations. But the simple fact of the matter is that a lot of inefficient processes have proliferated throughout enterprise IT simply because of inertia. And with the pressure from the business side to move to cloud computing, there is a historic opportunity to use the advent of cloud computing as a seminal moment to come clean about what really happens inside IT departments where IT infrastructure utilization rates are still not much to brag about.

The future of enterprise IT is going to be defined by how efficient, rather than how large, your IT operations are. And like it or not, that future is now.

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