As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote in the fifth century B.C., “There is nothing permanent except change.” While change can be good it's often hard to embrace. Case in point: Nearly 60% of IT respondents to ESG’s survey on hybrid cloud trends indicated that five years from now they plan to fulfill the majority of their IT infrastructure requirements with best-of-breed hardware components (i.e., server, storage, and networking from different vendors) in lieu of more turn-key approaches like converged and hyperconverged infrastructure.
Is this an indication that many in IT are foregoing change in favor of living in the past?
I’m not suggesting that converged and hyperconverged solutions are a panacea for all of IT’s ills. However, they can provide a way to simplify and rapidly speed-up virtualized infrastructure deployments in private cloud environments. Moreover, since these technologies tightly integrate virtualized computing, storage and networking resources into a single management framework, they can provide a more automated way to manage and provision virtualized infrastructure. And with "business speed" or agility as the new IT mantra, IT planners need to find ways to compete effectively with external threats, like public cloud service providers, for their internal customers' business.
To drive home the point, as I discussed in a recent video blog, according to ESG’s 2016 IT Spending Intentions report, the use of public cloud computing services now ranks as the No. 1 IT cost-containment measure. This means that businesses will increasingly look for ways to offload on-premises workloads into the cloud, especially if it can reduce costs.
To be clear, this isn’t a frontal assault on IT; this is merely a survival mechanism. Nearly 62% of IT budgets go towards just keeping the lights on. This means that less than 40% of the annual IT budget can go towards funding business innovation -- the lifeblood for competing in today’s democratized IT economy. And here’s another number for you, Cisco's former CEO, John Chambers, predicted last June that only 40% of companies will not be in business 10 years from now. What he was getting at is that those who embrace change will survive and those who don’t most likely won’t.
To help drive business innovation, IT organizations need to get out of the mindset that their value lies in assembling, integrating, provisioning, and maintaining virtualized infrastructure components. While this is still an important function, the fundamental problem is that if this is all the IT team does, it will never escape the label of just being another cost center to the business. And quite frankly, this could be fatal -- both to IT and the business -- over the long term.
CIOs I've spoken to who have successfully transformed their IT organizations cite more automated ways of provisioning and managing virtualized infrastructure across private cloud environments, as key to enabling that transformation. Simplified infrastructure management can improve the speed of how internal IT services are delivered and perhaps more importantly, it can free up their IT experts to spend more time on helping the business innovate.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter how you get to a more automated environment. The important thing is that you start moving in that direction sooner than later.
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