A Day of IT Reckoning

By Michael Vizard Print this article Print

We need to fundamentally rethink our collective approach to enterprise computing.

As the recession continues to deepen, it’s becoming clearer that we’re not just experiencing a momentary downturn that will cause us to restrain IT spending for the next fiscal year. Instead, the new economic reality is calling for a permanent reduction in the total cost of enterprise computing.

Therefore, relying on virtualization software to get more out of hardware is not going to be enough. We need to fundamentally rethink our collective approach to enterprise computing.

The good news is that the technologies that will enable IT executives to start that process are at hand. In fact, the first place that IT organizations will see a dramatic transformation is in the hardware used in the data center.

Over the last three decades, the commonly accepted wisdom has been that dedicated hardware was needed for server, storage and network functions. Around those devices, IT customers have been forced to add numerous appliances to handle specific functions, such as security and communications.

But in the last year we’ve begun to see multipurpose servers with enough bandwidth capacity and raw processing horsepower to run multiple types of services on the same system.

For example, Hewlett-Packard and Critical Links have each rolled out servers capable of performing multiple functions, thanks to multicore processors and blade server architectures. Now Cisco Systems intends to leverage similar technologies to create a unified approach to data center computing that integrates server, storage and networking functionality.

These efforts present a real opportunity to not only reduce the amount of hardware required by IT organizations, but also to eliminate the need for separate management applications and to reduce the number of specialists required to run all the devices that make up the data center today.

This, of course, brings us to a second factor driving the transformation of enterprise computing, namely, advances in IT automation software. Just about everywhere, significant advances are being made in terms of integrating server, storage, networking and security management.

This article was originally published on 2009-02-27
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