Kevin McIsaac

Kevin McIsaac

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Archimate is a vendor-neutral, pragmatic and simple visual language for Enterprise Architecture that can help define and communicate architectural solutions to diverse stakeholders. However the lack of support for transition roadmaps and program management integration means its use should be limited to tactical situations until the planned harmonisation with TOGAF is complete.

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Conclusion: The last 15 years was the era of the controller-based storage array. As organisations built ever large storage networks the storage array grew in both capacity and functionality. These devices are now extremely powerful, but for many organisations they are overly complex and the unit cost of storage is very high compared to low end storage.

As the controller-based storage array reaches its plateau of maturity it is ripe for displacement by a disruptive innovation. While no clear product has yet emerged there are four interesting candidates that should be examined to see how storage technology will evolve over the next five years.


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Conclusion:Client hypervisors have been available from start-up vendors for over a year, but this technology has largely gone unnoticed. The release this month of Citrix XenClient Express will quickly change this and raise the client hypervisor into mainstream awareness.

The client hypervisor is a very interesting technology and much hype will be generated over it, however its business value is limited. Nonetheless the client hypervisor will be quickly adopted by PC vendors looking for the “next big thing” and it will become common in new desktops/laptops over the next three years. IT organisations should look at the client hypervisor to understand how it can be used to lower desktop TCO or to create new business capabilities in the desktop.


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Over the last 2 years I’ve been surprised to find a number of e-mail and file archive projects that had failed very badly. I say surprised because for most of my career I’ve worked on infrastructure implementations, and while they are complex and messy, they generally workout Ok in the end.

After a few discussions with clients it dawned on me that while archiving is generally being implemented as an infrastructure, usually by IT infrastructure staff, it is very, very different from a typical infrastructure project. In particular archiving sits somewhere between a traditional infrastructure, i.e., some hardware and software that is generally very stable and has limited end-user features, and business applications, i.e., large scale software projects with extensive end-user features.


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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: 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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Conclusion: Increasing your data centre efficiency is a journey that has clearly defined steps. Organisations should focus on defining clear, measurable objectives, planning and monitoring efficiently rather than on the technology that vendors promote to deliver data centre efficiency.


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Conclusion: vCloud Express is a new entry level Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering based on self-service portals, credit card payments and VMware’s enterprise class virtualisation products.

CIOs should look at vCloud Express as a low cost, low risk way to learn how to use public cloud infrastructure. Since vCloud Express may be seen by some groups (dev/test, business units) as a way to side-step the perceived bureaucracy of the IT Organisation, CIOs should develop a strategy to embrace this use as a way to retain control and ensure relevancy with dissatisfied customers.


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Conclusion: The data centre is an essential IT resource with a finite capacity. Due to the very long lead times and very high capital costs for expanding that capacity, IT organisations must be sure they have sufficient head room to accommodate near term growth and a plan enabling long term growth.

Organisations that run into their data centre’s capacity limits will have significant constraints placed on IT and on business growth. Based on recent incidents at ANZ organisations this risk maybe much greater than you think.


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