The two* biggest reasons I enjoy working in IT are the never ending change and the impact IT has had on everything we do. I love that we constantly have to adapt and learn as a result. Almost makes it worth enduring the ‘Techie Weirdo’ tag I get from my family & friends. And most of them not understanding what I do.
Last week I had the pleasure of supporting the NetApp team at Agile Data Infrastructure events in Saudi, Dubai and Qatar. The last time I was in that region was 12 years ago when I worked for Nortel. Discussing big, new optical networks with telco companies. I was flabbergasted (great word – must use that more often) at how Dubai especially has changed. Those networks have now been built. Along with so much more. I doubt any country on earth has changed more in the last 12 years.
Back in 2001, the hype was about how “dot com” was going to change everything. Some poster child companies from that era exist still – www.lastminute.com – but most don’t. Thing is, the hype was justified – it just took 10+ years to come true! Mainly because the infrastructure wasn’t ready. Or even built. That, and the time it took consumers to catch-up with the change. Back in the ‘old world’ last week, the UK’s largest media content store, HMV, went out of business. The next in an ever increasing list of high street companies with long histories, who found it difficult to change as the web took over. Others include JJB Sports, Habitat, Focus DIY, Clinton Cards, Blockbuster Video, Comet, Game, TJ Hughes. And Jessops camera shop this week. Lots of arguments why, but the main thing has to be that they underestimated the impact of IT & the Internet. I reckon it’s at least 5 years since I bought anything in those shops – turns out it wasn’t just me.
Change in IT is happening all the time – it just typically takes time for the infrastructure reality to catch-up with the hype. Most organisations, like most countries, don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch like they did in Dubai. Of course a few ‘Cloud providers’ have. Amazon, Google, Facebook are now among the biggest IT buyers in the world. Driving consumers of IT to have a very different perspective of what is possible. Hence, the next phase of change in the IT industry will be driven by the consumer. They are ready this time. Change will happen much faster as a result.
But what happens if you don’t have the luxury of building entirely new infrastructure? If you’re a CIO of any large Enterprise or Service Provider, you probably have 100’s to 10,000’s of applications running on millons of $/£/€ of traditional IT, bought & architected over the last 5-10 or more years. I would argue – change your organisation to allow them to take what you have, virtualise as much as possible, shut down what you don’t use. And standardise on as few shared, automated & converged infrastructures as you can. Start with your next PO. That will start to set you up for the next part of the journey, as our industry transitions to broad Cloud usage over the next 5-10 years. And free up your teams’ time to work out how you’re going to do it. As least you might be able to keep up with some of your users’ demands. Google ‘shadow IT’ (some irony there) if you’re in any doubt of the urgency.
Those that adapt their IT infrastructure fastest will win. To help you get there faster, NetApp today is expanding our strategic partnership with Cisco. And announcing some exciting new investments and developments of the FlexPod architecture. Three years ago FlexPod didn’t exist. It is now the most widely deployed Converged Infrastructure (a market growing at 60% CAGR), with 2,100 customers using it, and 700 partners globally certified to sell it. Today’s announcement includes deeper architecture integration, solutions for cloud-scale service providers, solutions for branch offices and new application support.
IT is changing the world economy. And the infrastructure underneath it needs to keep up. There’s plenty of evidence to show what will happen to your company in the next 10 years if you don’t. If you’re happy to rest, then maybe that’s OK. If not, then maybe now is the time to change.
[Next week is Cisco Live London. NetApp is the exclusive Diamond sponsor. For more details see here ]
*I learnt last week, my magic number is 2, but that’s another story. As is sitting on a plane with 5 falcons……