VM and IT Services

Our regular readers will understand that we do not routinely report on vendor-specific industry events, but because of the increasing presence of virtualization as a foundational component in enterprise IT architecture, this week’s VMWorld in San Francisco is hard to ignore.

In a press release, VMware revealed a roadmap that is focused on IT services in support of Business. ¬†As expected, there is a lot of focus on the Cloud in this strategy. ¬†Earlier posts in this forum highlight how foundational the Cloud has become in enterprise IT roadmaps. ¬†What is more interesting in this announcement is the focus on IT as a service. ¬†In this post, we are focusing only on the content of VMware’s press release because of its statements about product strategy. ¬†It is recognized that additional color and content apply from the conference more broadly.

The Resilient Dynamic Data Center

I attended the 2009 IT Roadmap Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this week and sat in on the presentation by Johna Till Johnson of Nemertes Research, entitled “Building a Resilient Dynamic Data Center.” The presentation was a summary of hundreds of hours of discussions with data center operators and enterprises with data centers.

The information was summarized and presented in the framework of trends- from old to new. Of the data centers investigated, the ages were approximately 18 years old and the youngest around eight years old.

Beginning with the older sites, this vintage data center was built favoring reliability over responsiveness to change or business agility. The rate of growth within the data center was low, HVAC and power were relatively static, and there was little network infrastructure.

New Technology Trends Will Impact Traditional IT Roles

We’ve become fairly comfortable with the structure of our IT organizations, but new trends in technology product development are increasingly challenging these traditional models.

In the traditional (i.e., over the past 10 years or so) IT organization we have roughly aligned the organizational chart with a logical stack corresponding to our data processing footprint. We have Network Engineering, which is roughly focused on layers one through four of the OSI Stack. Systems Engineering, focuses on the servers and the O/S instances running on them. The business applications are sometimes served by a general development/QA/Test team or may be aligned vertically with the business units served by the applications. Data is often managed by business-aligned “data owners” and administered by one of the engineering teams. A Security team cuts across stack layers, accounting for access control as well as the broad array of IS Security concerns throughout the stack. An IT Operations team is accountable for Technical Operations processes and procedures and the general availability and integrity of the data processing footprint. The Telecom team is often bolted onto the IT organizational chart in some fashion, and frequently has a historical lineage outside of the IT department. It’s important also to include IT Facilities in this mix, as it is the foundation for the successful operation of the stack.

This model is under attack though, as new technology introductions are having a significant impact on our approach to casting the roles and hierarchy in our IT organizations.