So far in 2008 the Infrastructure Executive Council is hearing something interesting, even extraordinary: there is a quiet revolution occurring in the way leading organizations are managing infrastructure. Our world in 2008 sees nearly 2/3 of the companies the IEC helps challenged by the following realities: Shrinking infrastructure footprints amidst growing business distances; ubiquitous demands for more effective, comprehensive collaboration; service expectations rapidly redefining as distances increase, from managing availability to ensuring speed and stability of system response; new environments revealing weaknesses in the fit between applications and infrastructure; test environments becoming a less and less reliable predictor of the production environment.
Infrastructure Anywhere, the Quiet Revolution
For the IEC, Infrastructure Anywhere means overcoming the challenges posed by long distances and aggressive shared services consolidation. Infrastructure Anywhere aims to deliver service anywhere business gets done while still shrinking infrastructure’s physical footprint and dispersing infrastructure staff to locations possessing advantages in cost or expertise.
IEC sees leaders of this movement with priorities which diverge in four specific areas from trends commonly emphasized in the trade press:
Conventional wisdom says – Develop ‘real-time’ infrastructure: it’s all about reducing the cycle time for provisioning core computing services.
What the leaders do – They realize ‘fast provisioning’ is a component level view that misses the economics. Instead, they look at the service delivery value chain, understand the drivers of service value by customer and tailor their service practices to increase both economies of scale and value delivered.
- Performance Across Distances
Conventional wisdom says – The network is the limiting factor, so expand it to keep pace with the business as it increases the geography, tempo and variety of its operations.
What the leaders do – They know latency is often not a network disease. They improve core compute center performance globally through smarter process and measurement, improved testing, and simpler engineering.
Conventional wisdom says – IT should help automate structured business process through the support of enterprise applications, effectively ‘hardwiring’ collaboration channels.
What the leaders do – They focus on defining and deploying effective platforms for unstructured communication and collaboration, serving both dispersed infrastructure personnel and business partners.
- Timely Technology Deployment
Conventional wisdom says – Understand trends and keep up with the early adopter experiences of the ‘new new’ thing (e.g., virtualization, cloud computing, end-to-end monitoring, collaboration technologies, etc.).
What the leaders do – They map technology maturity to underlying business needs to enable more aggressive postures towards disruptive technologies without raising risk.
The leaders of Infrastructure Anywhere focus on the economically important evolution of IT infrastructure around the problems of business distance – both doing business at a distance and supporting business from a distance. The IEC Practice Manager Gregg Rosenberg says, “The Infrastructure Executive Council is working – through initiatives like its member-led Vision for Infrastructure group – to develop social tools like its Technology Adoption Risk Model, which organizes the experiences of many companies to inform organization specific decisions around adoption of key technologies like storage virtualization, unified communications and WAN acceleration.”