Why the IT Revolution? You cannot manage what you do not measure…
I believe that we have a problem. A problem that impacts businesses at all levels and a problem that is rarely discussed. I work in the IT Infrastructure business. We build the infrastructure that enables applications to leverage your data in a way that is beneficial to your business. Servers, storage, routers, switches, firewalls… that’s our game. So what’s the problem? In short, I believe the industry in which I have worked for more than 20 years has become bloated and wasteful!
In a knowledge economy, IT infrastructure represents one of the largest sunken costs on a business balance sheet and there is simply just too much of it out there. Why? Because an entire industry has grown to support a consumption economy over the last 30 years. I want it bigger, I want it faster, and I want it now! Do you? Do you really? Or as a business do you just want it to work, for it always to be there, and for it to never run out?
How much do I use? How much do I need? Difficult and expensive concepts for most businesses to adopt effectively – and counter-intuitive to core business. As a business we want these two things to be closely matched. Unfortunately, in our experience they very rarely are. Analyst data shows infrastructure is still deployed in a sub-optimal manner.
So why such inefficiency? There is far too much technical complexity to manage to get it right all of the time and the industry is stacked against you. Software vendors provide minimum and recommended infrastructure requirements. The Hardware vendors roll out their latest and greatest (Moore’s Law has a lot to answer for!) so do I want the 1.8GHz dual core or 3.GHz quad core, do I want 100Mbps, 1Gbps or 10Gbps? The subtext is that it will work on this but will fly on this – so which are you more inclined to adopt? There is an aspirational aspect to the purchase but on its own this is only part of the problem.
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) – the three most hated words in the IT Lexicon. We are all plagued by it. The reality is that we don’t know how much we will use – how can we? We have to manage the complexity of multiple IT resources – CPU, memory, storage, disk I/O, LAN, and WAN. It gets really complicated, really quickly. We are frightened that we will run out of resources and the business will suffer, we can’t be certain how the users will adopt or use the application, and we doubt the decisions we are making if we feel we are flying too close to the wind. We are preconditioned from day one to overprovision if possible. I call this padding the cell!
Our ultimate tether is available budget – thank god – but the argument is a technical one and this is a difficult concept for the business to manage. There’s something wrong here. The complexities we find hard to manage, mean we end up deploying the biggest infrastructure bucket we can afford. There has to be a better way!
In order to make good decisions, we have to simplify the problem. Understanding how much IT we have, how much we use, how much we waste and how much it costs is important. However, if we continue to manage our resources independently then traditional capacity planning methodologies don’t answer the questions the business is really trying to ask. The conversation remains purely technical and the business becomes disenfranchised.
The good news is that we believe there is an answer to the problem. We also believe it requires a fundamental change in the way we think about IT. IT is quickly becoming the next utility that is defined in terms of supply and demand. It’s no longer necessary to hide behind the technical jargon. Our aim is to discuss the methodologies that empower an efficient use of resources that Change the Economics of IT – Join the Revolution!
Managing Director at Gyrocom - Helping customers build better networks.