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The role of the CIO is changing–and with it, the role that IT plays in delivering core IT services to the business

9 Mar

The role of the CIO is changing–and with it, the role that IT plays in delivering core IT services to business end users.  Gone are the days when IT existed as a cost-center / corporate utility operating in a pseudo-vacuum apart from business priorities.

The proliferation of new market options for procuring IT services is forcing IT professionals to get strategic.  Globalization, competitive pressures stemming from the recession, cloud computing [both public and private], and IT governance are transforming the role that IT plays in helping companies achieve mission critical strategic objectives, as well as the skill sets IT needs to deliver the required value to the business.

Accordingly, IT is at a crossroads:  in order to ensure a “seat at the table,” IT leaders needs to adapt their orientation toward strategy.  This is the only way to ensure that the most impactful multitude of available technology options will be selected by business end users, giving the business what it needs to succeed.

Cloud Readiness: the often overlooked variable

13 Feb

The prospect of transitioning IT services to the cloud offers an intriguing value proposition for many organizations—with cost, performance, scalability, and extensibility all being key factors.  But many organizations lack the readiness to maximize the competitive advantages afforded by the cloud.

As organizations begin shaping their IT strategies toward cloud computing, many are creating teams or pools of resources that will be responsible for architecting, developing, and supporting cloud infrastructure.  Without building the internal skill sets / competencies needed to maximize cloud benefit, organizations will never realize all the competitive advantages that the cloud has to offer.  Without question, the cloud is redefining what skill sets IT resources need.

A poorly conceived cloud strategy can have disruptive impact in unforeseen ways.

Additionally, cloud utilization is redefining many important business technology relationships.

The bottom line: organizations need to be prepared.  The cloud offers compelling benefits that can only be attained if your organization is positioned to take advantage of them.

Optimization is only the first step

24 Jan

It’s tough to get from point A to point B without defining where you’re trying to go, which is why the term “optimization” can be misleading.

“Optimized” to what?  Some external benchmark?  Individual preferences?  Is it about efficiency?  IT cost avoidance?  Performance?

You can “optimize” an individual component of IT—say, storage—but still fall short everywhere else.

And how do you even know if you’re “optimized,” if the engagement isn’t joined at the hip with enterprise strategy? Is IT architected properly to support strategic business objectives?

Are your risk mitigation activities aligned with corporate risk tolerance thresholds?

Is your IT as resilient as it needs to be?

Is your IT governance truly effective, or is it focused on the wrong things?

And are you tracking the right information to answer any of the above?

IT is a corporate utility that exists to enable the rest of the organization to achieve.  Therefore, it is important to figure out what your organization is trying to accomplish [vision], and then determine whether your IT is architected to support this vision [strategy].  The first step in this process is to develop a framework for assessing IT activities / projects / etc. to determine whether or not they contribute value to where you’re trying to go as an organization.

DC Power…in your D.C.

22 Dec

Due to rising costs of energy and the need to keep operating expenses as low as possible, data center managers are always looking for opportunities to increase energy efficiency in the data center.  Much can be accomplished through server virtualization and consolidation, storage consolidation, and through implementing best practices in cool air distribution / hot air reclamation in the data center.

Within the electric power ecosystem, opportunities aren’t as easily identified or implemented.  Newer UPS systems are highly efficient, and the latest generations of servers are significantly more efficient than the generations available just two years ago.  Because of transformation of power in a data center from Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC) (or vice versa) there is a tremendous amount of energy loss resulting in heat.  What if these conversions could be eliminated, saving an additional 15% on the power demand and energy usage through establishment of a standard for DC power in the datacenter?  A new study has demonstrated actual savings of that magnitude:

“Symanski presented results of a DC implementation in a Duke Energy data center which balanced the load across AC and DC distribution systems in the same environment. “We were trying to get as close as we could to an apples-to-apples comparison,” said Symanski, who said the DC system showed energy savings ranging between 14.9 and 15.6 percent versus AC distribution systems in multiple tests with different IT workloads. The test used HP and IBM servers and EMC storage arrays on the IT side, with a distribution system featuring Delta rectifiers, Starline busway and Dranetz-BMI metering.”

An industry group, Emerge Alliance, has been formed to help develop and drive adoption of 380V DC power for commercial buildings, including the data center.

These innovative standards integrate interior infrastructures, power, controls and devices in a common microgrid platform to facilitate the hybrid use of AC and DC power throughout buildings for unprecedented design and space flexibility, greater energy efficiency and improved sustainability.

The Alliance will simplify and accelerate market adoption of EMerge Alliance standards. The Alliance will ensure that its standards deliver:

  • Required solutions based on market requirements and ecosystem approval
  • Buyer assurance with products base-lined to the standards
  • Increased supply choices in the value chain that span the needs of different commercial interiors

Establishment of an integrated standard that manufacturers like HP, IBM and EMC can design products to is an important step towards implementing more DC-based systems and lowering corporate OpEx spend.

Welcome!

26 Sep

Greetings! 

I look forward to using this blog as a forum to engage in dialogue about innovative applied concepts, strategies, and technologies that are changing data center operations.

IT is on the cusp of significant transformational change–it’s an exciting time to be an IT professional!

Stay tuned for more…