Dec 9, 2007

Server Marketshare from Enck and Claunch at Gartner

At the Gartner Conference, John Enck and Carl Claunch (both Gartner analysts) presented some interesting trends in server operating systems. Based on worldwide server shipment revenue, two operating systems are growing in marketshare:
  • Windows: $19 billion in 2007
  • Linux: $8.6 billion
UNIX marketshare is declining, but was still $16 billion in 2007. The total server shipment revenue in 2007 was $54 billion. Among mainframes, IBM z-Series is growing, while other vendors are decreasing.

Based on a poll of the audience (~300 members),
  • 40% were reducing the number of server operating systems at their enterprise.
  • 19% were increasing
  • 41% were remaining steady
Based on another audience poll for use of blade architectures in the data center:
  • 13% are researching blades
  • 13% are testing blades
  • 54% have deployed blades
  • 20% have no plans for blades
Some other interesting highlights from this presentation:
  • Itanium is viable for only the HP-UX platform but not for other operating systems.
  • 80% of all x86 servers deployed in data centers run Windows.
  • Solaris, AIX and HP-UX are stable UNIX platforms. Other UNIX platforms are dying.
  • Gartner sees a resurgence of physical appliances. Appliances must integrate with existing monitoring and management tools.

Dec 7, 2007

Leadership Lessons from Commander Mike Abrashoff

At the Gartner Conference, one of the keynotes was from Mike Abrashoff, a former Navy Commander. During his talk, which was titled "It's Your Ship!," he focused on leadership and how you can change the performance of an organization. He used anecdotes from his command of the USS Benfold.

When he took command of the ship, he found that performance suffered from:
  1. Infighting among the 5 deparments on the ship
  2. Training was cut, due to budget reasons
  3. People would complain about things not under their control
  4. Tradition: Things were done as they had always been done
Abrashoff worked for William Perry, whom he described as "excellent without being arrogant." He modeled his own leadership after the way Perry treated people.

He spoke about how to instill a sense of urgency. Each month, a different division would "be in the spotlight."

Abrashoff would routinely walk around the ship and talk with sailors. He would ask:
  • What do you like most?
  • What do you like the least?
  • What can we improve, within budget?
Abrashoff instilled a culture where anyone on the ship, regardless of rank, could make a suggestion. Here are some of the suggestions that he implemented:
  • Change the bolts on the ship from iron to stainless steel. Instead of painting the ship every 2 months, the ship could be painted every 10 months. This best-practice was then implemented throughout the US Navy.
  • Thursday evenings, the crew would gather on the flight deck and listen to jazz and watch the sun set. This improved morale and was relatively cheap to implement.
Abrashoff believes in setting limits and letting people take action within those limits. He also believes in recruiting people everyday even they're already on-board. During his command, the Benfold became one of the top ships in the US Navy based on different performance and productivity criteria. It all starts with leadership!

Gartner's Infrastructure Operations Maturity Model

At Gartner's Data Center Conference, Donna Scott and Jay Pultz, both Gartner VP Analysts,

announced the new Gartner Infrastructure and Operations Maturity Model. There are 6 levels for an organization:

  • 0: Survival
  • 1: Awareness
  • 2: Committed: sufficient resources available (people, capital)
  • 3: Proactive
  • 4: Service-Aligned (SLA’s defined as IT services)
  • 5: Business Partner

From a poll of the audience (~2000 attendees), 60% are at levels 1 and 2, 7% are at level 0 (survival), 19% are level 3 (proactive) and only 1% are level 5 (business partner).

Level 2: focuses on customer satisfaction. Organizations invest in project management, incident management and service support.

There are three components to the IO Maturity Model: People, process and technology. Technology changes are the easiest to implement, followed by process changes and finally followed by people changes (e.g., training and having the appropriate staff).

Technology changes needed for the different levels:

  • 1: Asset management system in place
  • 2: Consolidation, standards in place
  • 3: Automated failover and architecture in place
  • 4: End-to-end service levels
  • 5: Dynamically change the infrastructure

Levels 2 and below are not sustainable levels. By the end of 2012,

  • 35% of large enterprises will be at level 3 (proactive), compared with 25% in 2007.
  • 14% will be at service-aligned, compared with 9% today

Bittman Talks about Data Center Sprawl

Okay, this post is a little late, but hey, it was hard to get work done after hours in Vegas. We had booth duty until 8:30pm at the show, followed by a long dinner. I'm not much of a gambler, but I did drop $40 in slot machines, hoping for the big payout. So I didn't break the bank, and I'm back to blogging.

Here are some highlights from Tom Bittman's opening keynote at the Gartner Conference:

Data center sprawl (physical and virtual) can be managed by creating pools of resources. Automation of the Real Time Infrastructure will be the trend if 2010-2016. Virtualization is becoming a commodity. By the end of 2008, the hypervisor will become free. By the end of 2009, there will be 4 million x86 VM’s. Managing those VM's will be the challenge, and where most vendors should focus their efforts.

Real Time Infrastructure

  • Resources are shared.
  • The interface is business policy and SLA’s.
  • Provides agility to applications and services.
  • Inputs are service requirements, servers and storage. The outputs are IT services.

CMDB’s must be used with well-defined process. Organizations must make changes to culture and process for CMDB’s to be effective.

Run Book Automation: workflow of operations and process. This is not really technology.

Virtualization enables alternative delivery models:

  • Cloud computing / grid
  • Software appliances
  • Containers
  • Infrastructure as a service

Power and cooling are problems. Demand drives an increase in energy requirements. Virtualization solves a short-term, tactical problem. However, virtualization increases the long-term demand for energy, since the barrier to entry for deploying new servers (as VM’s) is reduced.

Over the next few days, I'll try to post about the other sessions I attended. Stay tuned.