No matter what sophisticated capabilities IT brings to the organization, the table stakes measure of success for any IT operation is availability. Ready access; ready tools; ready data; safe and sound. The IT leader’s first responsibility is to anticipate their organization’s needs and provide the IT horsepower it expects, when and where it wants, for the price it expects to pay. This means flexibility and affordability without hiccups. The implications are profound. An agile IT infrastructure must be both tightly integrated—networks, servers, storage, and security—and flexible enough to meet changing demands on the fly. It must be able to scale up and down as appropriate. That all means superior design, execution at speed, and attentive, proactive day-to-day management. Achieving this level of performance is categorically different from the typical approach to operations management. Instead of reacting to problems, the entire team, from architects to operations and support, must diagnose issues from early warning signs—before end users experience any problems—and correct the root causes. The result? An IT infrastructure that heals before it is hurt; service levels that delight end users; and costs that make the CIO beam. Some IT organizations are just starting on the road to virtualization, and they need a gateway solution. In addition, they want simpler operations that can be managed by their lean staffs. They are considering virtualized appliances—packaged, pre-configured solutions that include compute, storage, software, and support for dedicated uses such as Windows Server 2003 conversion. Other IT organizations are already knee-deep in virtualization and also experimenting with the cloud. They are consolidating operations to achieve higher density with lower risk Their goal? Wring all the costs out of their infrastructure through automation. They are looking for:
- Stronger infrastructure design—Infrastructure designed for your workloads, from transaction processing to ad hoc queries, and stay a step ahead of changing needs.
- Performance Analytics—Tools and assistance in keeping infrastructure tuned as needs change
- Cloud Consulting—Advice from hands-on experts about what to move to the cloud as well as how to implement the change
- Business continuity in the Cloud—Implementing just in time infrastructure capacity and engineering effective recovery and fail-over.
- Proactive management, monitoring, and support—Identify and solve performance issues by rooting out the causes before the problems emerge.
- Security—Eliminate the vulnerabilities on both sides of the firewall, and nab any attackers before they do damage.
- Agile methods—Train your team in agile methods that improve their ability to respond quickly to new requirements.