The cloud and infrastructure article series


The cloud and infrastructure article series

It’s 9 a.m. on Monday. Do you know where your data is?

In enabling new business and preserving existing value, IT executives are more challenged than ever to balance the agility companies want with the stability they need. Legacy data centers are increasingly removed from the cloud and mobile end users. Delivering data to a variety of devices and taking advantage of new platforms typically requires giving up some control over IT infrastructure. Our new series, The cloud and infrastructure, covers these trends and ways IT executives can make the most of emerging technologies.

The cloud and infrastructure series: Article summaries

As IT executives look to provide value from their IT portfolios, they are managing a mix of emerging, current, and legacy technologies—and the gulf between emerging and legacy continues to widen. The consumer market drives advances in end-user devices and the end-user experience. Service vendors invest in adoption of cloud computing, virtualization, and orchestration, while manufacturers attempt to deliver more computing horsepower at a lower cost. Behind the tablets, clouds, and chips, a data center and a room full of legacy infrastructure still sits, waiting for refresh.

The widening gap between end user devices, data mobility, cloud services, and back office legacy systems presents a tremendous challenge for IT executives trying to manage and maintain infrastructure. From mobile apps to mainframe MIPS and in-house servers to sourced vendor services, managing this broad range requires:

  • An informed view on how much can change by when
  • An appropriate operating model
  • A balanced perspective on what should be developed and controlled and what needs to be monitored and governed

The cloud and infrastructure series comprises five articles that take a closer look at crucial areas IT executives must explore to make informed judgements about trends in the end-user experience and end-user devices, cloud computing, data center strategy, IT operating models, legacy systems, and other key aspects of emerging technologies.

End users and data everywhere

Widespread adoption of cloud computing and the evolution of the end-user experience are dramatically changing the corporate office. End users are on the move on different devices—and so is end-user data. As customer and enterprise data moves across both internal and external telephony and wireless networks, CIOs are facing growing challenges around control and management of enterprise IT and data flow to and from the data center (which may now be external).

How much PaaS can you really use?

Most IT executives actively seek ways to standardize software and IT infrastructure, and to simplify development, support, and maintenance processes. At the same time, it’s important to consider where there may be competitive advantage and how best to balance the emerging, current, and aged technologies available. This is particularly true with the growth of analytics, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things, all of which could leverage platform services.

Maturing platforms as a service (PaaS) are now providing enhanced automation and developer self-service, programming interfaces, and more integrated middleware and management capabilities.

The end of the efficiency trade and the coming capacity crunch

In the world of servers and data centers, IT executives have grown accustomed to buying more computing power each year at lower cost and increasingly smaller sizes. This trend has enabled efficiency trades between the space and power required to deliver increasing computing capacity and storage. Since IT equipment and IT facilities still consume significant IT budget, changes in these trends could create strategic capacity problems and drive up long-term costs.

In this article we discuss ways computing refreshes will likely start to lose value, technology advances may soon counter standardization moves, and data center consolidation will likely need to reverse. We will discuss some possible mitigations and look closely at developments in the largest cost component—data center strategy.

Something old, something new—IT operating models for the new IT portfolio

Historically, IT operating models were built on fairly reliable assumptions: all of the employees who design, develop, provision, deploy, and operate actually work for your organization; you control your own architecture blueprint and perform your own engineering; deployment and changes to the IT stack are done according to your schedule and approval. The cloud and other major shifts in technology infrastructure are breaking these traditional assumptions down, creating a commensurate shift in IT operating models and the role of IT executives, from buying and integrating products and components to buying and governing enabling services.

The legacy of legacy—the ultimate drag on condensing into a cloud

More than one IT executive has looked at aging legacy systems, thought about how to move them to x86 virtualized platforms and concluded: Too difficult to think about, on to the next problem. In this article we discuss how not confronting legacy systems can be an existential threat to the enterprise. We also offer some practical approaches for taking on the legacy of legacy systems: how to be cloud ready, take advantage of emerging technologies and end-user devices, and trade legacy infrastructure for data services.

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