Infrastructure

Conclusion: With core Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Converged Enhanced Ethernet standards now ratified, and with major networking vendors having rolled out FCoE products, IT executives should prepare themselves for an onslaught of converged FC and IP networking product marketing.

While FCoE will be the dominant storage protocol in the long-run, IT organisations must brush aside vendor’s future/function technobabble and understand the benefits of a converged network in the context of their environment. Only then can the organisation define an adoption strategy that guides how and when storage networking is migrated to FCoE.

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Conclusion:Organisations that that plan to deploy or extend their WAN Optimisation Clients (WOCs) should strongly consider virtual WOCs. Virtual WOCs will carry less financial commitment, and an organisation deploying virtual WOCs will not be encumbered after 2-3 years with outdated appliances which cannot be repurposed. The importance of not over-committing to WOC appliances will become increasingly important: as WOC capabilities get baked into application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs); and as organisations move towards web applications, which will require their own accelerators.

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Conclusion: IT managers starting to investigate either WAN optimisation or web application acceleration technologies need to be clear on several factors before making a purchase. The first and most important factor is the technical architecture their organisation currently has. The correct choice of technology will depend on: where the data is, where the users are, what applications the users need, how mobile they are, and whether the organisation is moving towards web applications.

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Conclusion: Oracle Exadata is an innovative approach to system design that makes Oracle a leading vendor in our Integrated Systems model and it is an example of how IT infrastructure will evolve over the next 3-7 years.

Oracle’s reinvention of storage as a cluster of commodity servers (x64), using commodity storage (SAS/SATA), and a volume storage operating system, is particularly noteworthy. This is a fundamental departure from the last 20 years of storage design, and heralds a major shakeup in the storage industry over the next five years.

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Conclusion: Moving from today’s Layered Component model to an Integrated Systems model of IT infrastructure will bring many benefits such as lower operational costs and a more agile infrastructure. However there will be many challenges in undertaking this change, and at the top of the list is the IT infrastructure inertia created by people’s resistance to change and the scale of the investment in the existing technologies.

Rather than focus on the technology IT executives need to work on the people issues, (resistance to change, competency traps, fear of the unknown) and the capital investment issues, that are typical in any major program of change.

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Conclusion: Oracle’s vision is to become the leading IT Systems Vendor by creating a complete IT stack of hardware, middleware and applications. The objective is to reduce complexity, and to lower the total cost of ownership, though integration and optimisation across the entire stack.

Oracle will retain Sun products that are both complete this Systems Vendor vision and are aligned with its long term business and technology strategies. The remaining Sun products will either be parked, and the customer base transitioned to a related Oracle product, or sold to a third party.

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Conclusion: Storage vendors promoted storage deduplication a technology that can increase storage efficiency and reduce storage capital costs. However, since some storage deduplication products have a high capital cost, to ensure that an investment is recouped IT organisations must first understand where it should be used and why. IT organisations must then decide whether storage deduplication is a tactical band-aid, and limit its use to a specific case, if it is a strategic platform that must be invested in and built out across the enterprise or if it should be avoided entirely.

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Conclusion: HP’s acquisition of 3COM, Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems and Cisco’s move into blade servers are all clear signs that IT infrastructure is at the beginning of another major structural change. These events herald a transition from today’s Layered Components model, where best-of-breed components are purchased from a number of specialist vendors and then integrated by the IT organisation, to an Integrated Systems model where complete systems are purchased from a single vendor, avoiding the need for the IT organisation to act as a Systems Integrator.

IT organisations should look at adopting the Integrated Systems model when the costs and risks of acting as a System Integrator outweigh the benefits of competition at the component level (commoditisation and innovation).

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Desktop virtualisation is no longer the hottest topic in the media, however it still gets considerable interest from IT executives. As part of a series of roundtables that I am running on “The Evolution of the Desktop” I have just finished speaking to 28 IT executives on this topic. From these conversations it is clear there is still a strong interest in finding a better way to deliver the desktop that both reduces the TCO and increases agility. That is, simplifies remote access, enables business continuity and speeds up deploying new desktop applications.

The centralised virtual desktop, commonly known as VDI (which was VMware’s product name), was once considered a promising way to achieve these goals. However many IT organisations have discovered that simply moving the desktop into the data centre does not solve the real problem which is the management of the desktop image (the operating system, applications and data). Leading organisations are now recognising that it is necessary to radically change the way they build the desktop image so that the management costs and problems can be radically reduced.

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