One of the fundamental problems with enterprise IT is that internal IT organizations are often at war with one another. Much of that warfare is driven by the self interest of one particular group of specialists arguing in favor of one particular computing platform over another simply because that’s the platform they know best. And the more applications that run on that platform, the higher their job security becomes.
The problem is that it’s difficult to develop a cohesive IT strategy when there are a lot of partisan politics involved. For that reason, IBM under the auspices of a new Smarter Computing initiative is trying to get customers to focus on the real cost of computing per class of application workload. The real issue, says Guru Rao, an IBM fellow and chief systems engineer, is that not only do too many IT organizations lack a cohesive approach to how they manage applications, they also don’t really know the true cost of processing them.
Rao says that the IBM Smarter Computing initiative is also intended to help companies reduce the size of the overall IT environment they need to manage by being a lot smarter about how they manage data. That means not only more reliance on compression and data deduplication, it means making better use of data management tools in order to reduce the number of copies of various data sets that today are routinely distributed throughout the enterprise. Each copy of those data sets, notes Rao, requires additional IT infrastructure and storage capacity to process and manage. That in turn aggravates the total cost of enterprise IT.
By being smarter about how data and applications workloads are managed, Rao contends that IT organizations will free up a significant amount of money that can be reinvested to create new innovative applications or simply dropped to the bottom line to increase the profitability of overall organization. In either case, the overall value of the IT organization to the rest of the business is greatly enhanced.
There’s no silver bullet that will transform the operations of any given IT organization overnight. But there is lots of room for steady improvement once companies get past the politics of IT to focus on the application workload requirements irrespective of the underlying IT infrastructure.