The New Realities of IT

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Ten Key Actions to Reduce IT Infrastructure and Operations Costs

Reduce costs by as much as 25 percent with these tips from Gartner.

Sometimes a simple set of statistics does more to describe the gravitas of a situation more than all the presentations in the world can ever accomplish. In the years ahead, industry analysts expect that the amount of data that will need to be managed is going to increase by a factor of 44. In that same time period the rosiest of predictions suggests that the number of people working in IT will increase by only about 50 percent.

Chances are that both predictions are woefully wrong. Data will increase at a faster rate, while, due to the state of the economy, the number of IT people might actually stay flat. In either scenario, with the way it's managed today, IT is not going to be up to the task.

Speaking at an EMC Forum event in New York, Jeremy Burton, chief marketing officer for EMC, said the new goal that IT organizations should be aiming for is giving IT administrators the ability to effectively manage over 10 petabytes of data each. It's only when we start to reach those numbers that IT organizations begin to even approach the economics needed to make IT cost effective to manage.

The only way that can happen is by relying more on IT automation and a new generation of systems that don't require dedicated storage, networking and server specialists to manage them. The goal, says Burton, is to create dynamic pools of compute and storage resources, also known as a private cloud, which can be holistically managed by a handful of people. That may sound threatening to the existing IT status quo, but Burton argues that there are thousands of applications that could add value to the business that never get built or deployed because IT departments don't have the resources to build.

The real issue, says Burton, is that IT organizations can't afford to make the investment required to acquire new systems that automate many of the most time-consuming tasks or they have staffs that are resistant to change because they fear what that change may mean to their role in the organization. The kind of change required, says Burton, needs to be an initiative driven from the top of an organization that is fundamentally committed to change.

In fact, Timothy Page, senior vice president of global sales for The Virtual Computing Environment Company (VCE), a joint venture between EMC, Intel, VMware and Cisco that is dedicated to selling turnkey Vblock server platforms based on Unified Computing Systems (UCS) from Cisco and EMC storage, says that instead of having separate budgets for storage, servers and networking gear, IT organizations should centralize those budgets to change the way the organization behaves economically. Once those budget dollars are pooled, Page argues that people will make choices that are better aligned with the interests of the organization than they tend to do when managing various components of the enterprise in isolation. Ultimately, the goal should be to consolidate the IT staff around the management of modern pre-integrated servers, which will significantly increase the amount of compute resources that can be managed per administrator.

Obviously, convergence in the data center is as much a political issue as it is economic. But as the amount of data and the number of applications that need to be managed continue to grow, it's pretty clear that IT is approaching a breaking point that will force some fundamental changes to the way IT is managed. The only real question is whether IT leaders are going to be proactive about taking measures to mitigate the impact of trends such as Big Data, or wait to react to an actual crisis.

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