We live in interesting times socially, economically, and technologically. It is pretty clear that “best effort” just isn’t good enough anymore as the drive for efficiency shifts into ever higher gears. In IT we have seen some fantastic examples of this transformation unfold in the last couple of years.
Let’s look at the mundane example of a computer power supply. For decades the computer industry loafed along using power supplies with efficiency ratings in the range of 70%. Good enough? Not good enough for the folks at Open Compute Project who rethought the problem and drove efficiency up to 94.5%.
It should be no surprise that 20 year old routing technologies are showing their age. Google revealed that Software Defined Networking, merchant silicon, and great traffic engineering can be combined to replace BGP routing and push WAN utilization well beyond 90%. Best effort need not apply.
When thinking about IT processes today we usually end up in a manually driven trouble ticketing system that takes days or weeks to resolve – nowhere near 90% efficiency. Need to spin up a new development server? File a ticket and wait. Need a new secured collaboration space for your working group? File a ticket and wait. The best effort model of waiting on IT simply won’t last in the era of BYOIT.
VMware redefined server provisioning velocity with vSphere by reducing deployment times from days to minutes. We are now taking that same approach to address storage, networking, security, availability, and applications in order to create the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). In the SDDC enterprise users get IT on demand, without IT intervention. SDDC enables enterprise IT departments to offer services that users need while delivering better economics, velocity, and security than can be achieved with legacy architectures.
On this journey it is important that IT leaders identify and remove the barriers to achieving 99% efficiency. Is it VLAN stitching? Storage provisioning? Firewall configuration? Workload placement? Application installation? Any IT activity that is associated with “operations” or “process” is a candidate for automation in the SDDC. Legacy technologies will need to be retired and replaced with those that are able to meet the service velocity required by enterprise users.
Pushing the enterprise data center to 99% requires new thinking and a different approach to solving old problems. Best effort appliances, command line interfaces, and trouble ticket queues need not apply.