What a crazy and exhilarating week in Las Vegas!
I delivered the keynote at Gartner’s 27th annual Data Center Conference this week. Here are four major points I made. Later I’ll post some key take-aways from hours and hours of conversations – lots of great insights from conversations between our analysts and more than 1,800 attendees in a very busy week.
The future of infrastructure looks like cloud. Cloud is definitely being over-hyped in the marketplace, and isn’t popping into existence out of nothing. Gartner has been describing a vision for the future of infrastructure for more than seven years called “Real-Time Infrastructure”. Amazon’s EC2 and Microsoft’s Azure are examples of real-time infrastructures being delivered as external services. They are showing what can be done when standardization, virtualization and automation technologies are leveraged heavily, and internal IT organizations should learn from these examples. Cloud computing has a long way to go – but it is and will be evolving quickly. Evolve to behave more like a cloud provider – which will also prepare you to leverage cloud services when it makes sense.
Virtualization is a modernization catalyst. Virtualization is the hottest topic at the conference – but our key advice is to look beyond simple consolidation and cost savings. Virtualization can be the catalyst to drive many fundamental important changes in architectures, processes and cultures. Even if short-term attention needs to be given to cost-savings, make sure you build a foundation that can be leveraged in a few years. Virtualization “unlocks” cloud computing potential internally and externally.
Sourcing will become dynamic and granular. Traditional outsourcing and hosting is not dead, but it is dying. Economies of scale are replacing skills, and speed is replacing static contracts. IT needs to take the initiative in building dynamic sourcing teams – people who understand both IT and business, and can make sourcing decisions a project at a time, and dynamically based on changing workloads, priorities and costs. On the other hand, cloud computing portends a huge shift in small business IT. Cloud providers will offer a low barrier to entry and economies of scale that are too compelling to ignore. To service them, a new industry of service brokers will evolve.
The time to build a strategic plan is now. Infrastructure demands, an economy in turmoil, technologies for virtualization and automation, and the emergence of cloud computing are all happening too rapidly to simply stay in react-mode. Infrastructure strategic planning is not an option, it’s a requirement to navigate change and survive. Success stories are pointing the way. The gap between the strong and the weak is expanding – don’t be left behind.