Oh, man, what a week THAT was. Who could have imagined the total devastation of a major American city, or the staggering death toll and human deprivation, or the governmental incompetence from the very top down? Has anyone in Washington ever heard the phrase "vacation coverage"?
Play the blame game all you like, folks, because it's almost certain that this is going to result in a major disruption of the economy over time, and that may well include IT in general. If your business ends up dropping off, there's nothing unfair about pointing the finger at the people who caused it. Will IT spending (not entirely unfettered as it was) drop off in the wake of this? It may not seem like the most important factor at the moment, but IT -- and that certainly includes all your server purchases -- are a serious economic indicator at any time. The numbers going forward will be pretty telling about the economy as a whole. We'd like to know your plans: Take our poll on whether you'll be pulling back on your server deployment or staying pat. And yes, one of the choices is "Who cares right now?" I'm sure not going to say that's an invalid response.
As sad and sickening as the devastation of New Orleans is, though, the digging out has finally begun and life is moving forward on other fronts, as it always does. Microsoft is still working on its release candidate for Release 2 of Windows Server 2003; Intel and AMD continue to thrash out their legal battle; the competition for supremacy on 64-bit servers is heating up. For a while yet, this may all seem normal, and indeed IT planning may just continue on its regular course. This is a mature industry at this point, able to map out its strategies with a long view as well as a short one. A couple years from now, will we be saying that IT kept the economy stable, the way it juiced it in the late '90s? Maybe.
But I can be sure that when that hurricane got into the Gulf of Mexico and respawned itself up to killing strength, you didn't look at the news reports and think, "Well, that's going to affect our server management and deployment." Now? Real good chance it's on your mind. It's an interconnected world; all those servers you run, from the ones moving your branch data and functioning as your company storage to the web servers that link it all together with other businesses, are a big part of the glue that forms that interconnection. And this administration's ignorance of the importance of the Port of Southern Louisiana and New Orleans' role in making that work may just have a real effect on your business and your server strategy for the next year or two. Strange, but true. Whatever George W. Bush's government was last week, for IT and the server business -- and for everybody -- it was not good for business as usual. Not even close.