May 20, 2008

Simon Yates Talks about IT Infrastructure and Operations at the Forrester IT Forum

The clock has almost struck 12 (literally) on the first day of the Forrester IT Forum, but Vegas is still hoppin'. After a long day of sessions and 1-1's with Galen Schreck and Simon Yates, Jay and I decided to have some nice Venetian cuisine at one of the cafe-style restaurants in the faux Piazzo St. Marco at the Venetian Hotel. (I've been to the real Piazzo in Venice, and let's just say the replica is "close, but no cigar." Okay, maybe not even close, but there was one pigeon in the Venetian's replica.)

Earlier in the afternoon, I attended a session by Simon Yates, a Forrester VP analyst. The session was entitled "IT Infrastructure and Operations: The Road Ahead."

Yates covered many different topics during his session.

Success imperatives for IT that he is seeing from Forrester's clients (mostly large enterprises):

  • Stay ahead of next-generation data center technologies.
  • Consolidate IT for cost, efficiency, and simplification. Yates seeing a lot of interest in consolidation from their clients—very high demand over a short period of time (6 months).
  • Deliver always-on, always-available infrastructure within an ever-tightening budgetary envelope. One interesting quote: “Every year is a recession in IT operations.”
  • Enable user productivity through mobility.
  • Automated and simplify IT processes. ITIL, Forrester is developing research around IT management and automation.
  • Maintain and optimize core IT systems.

Technology change

  • Virtualization everywhere: servers, storage, networks, and clients. Improving server manageability and server flexibility is the number one reason for virtualization (41% consider very important and 46% consider important). Reducing hardware costs is the next reason (43% very important, 39% important) CIO's are “talking about virtualization at cocktail parties like it’s their favorite martini.”
  • Next-generation data center technologies could fundamentally. Change the economics of IT. Cloud computing has burst onto the scene. This could have a profound impact on how people build data centers.
  • Mobility requirements are driving investments in infrastructure to support a changing workplace.

Gaps in the virtualization portfolio

  • Management tools: need management that is common across silos. Most management tools from the “Big Four” are designed for physical things.
  • Sercurity tools can’t see into or protect virtual instances.
  • Licensing: still a black art that gets even more complicated. MSFT licensing is even more complicated in a virtualized environment.
  • Organization challenges: ownership and responsibility as virtualization bridges traditional functional domains (e.g., storage management).

Cloud computing is on the horizon. Yates urged attendees to get ready for the onslaught of cloud-computing products and initiatives from systems vendors. Most enterprises are not ready, and most cloud-computing providers are not ready yet either.

Organizational change

  • 87% of CIO’s plan to restructure IT operations, and 60% have already started. Basically looking at traditional silos, such as storage, and looking at realigning to business imperatives and changing technologies.
  • Consolidation of everything- data centers, storage, applications, and IT staff. Automation will drive the consolidation of IT staff.
  • New requirements drive IT ops professions to develop new business and technology skills. CEO’s and CIO’s want to invest in the personnel they have.

Changes that will happen in IT:

  • Distributed authority will give way to centralized oversight. Instead of many mini-CIO’s, control will be centralized under the CIO.
  • Bottom-up projects will be replaced by top-down initiatives from the CIO.
  • Tech silos will be broken down and replaced by tech interdependency. There’s a push for IT service management instead of functional silos. There will be ITIL projects in the coming 6 months.
  • Technology specialists will transform into personnel with cross-technology skills. These individuals will be required to “see beyond their silos” and understand how IT affects (and can improve) the business.
  • Traditional tech metrics will give way to business-centered metrics. IT performance will be measured at a business level.

IT skills requirements are changing: technical versatility, business knowledge, interpersonal skills.

Process change

  • IT departments are shifting from the management of things to the automation of process and services.
  • Increasing interest in ITIL and increasing adoption in tools for automation. After consolidating hardware, companies are turning to ITIL (to consolidate process after they’ve consolidated everything physical.
Well, that wraps up day 1 at the Forrester IT Forum. And if you're still wondering, there were no cookies during the afternoon break between sessions. There was a selection of fresh fruit and granola bars. So, no cookie for me, but I did have gelato after dinner. So good things do come to those who wait! Check back on Wednesday for updates on day 2. Ciao.

No comments: