Containers Expo Blog Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Ravi Rajamiyer

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Virtualization Is Changing IT, What Will Change Business?

Virtualization and cloud are transforming the way that we implement IT

Over the last several years, and for several more to come, virtualization and cloud are transforming the way that we implement IT. The purpose of the department is the same – to serve users in the best manner possible – but the agility with which that service can be offered has increased by a magnitude or more. Bringing up a brand-new server took weeks, now it is hours. The entire focus of Server Administrators shifted from hardware, so that it is a small part of what they do on a daily basis, the number of servers you can offer the business is now tenfold or one hundred fold what it was a few short years ago.


And all indications are that the business is taking advantage of these facts. Like an explosive gasp, server requests ballooned, with business people thinking that IT was no longer the bottleneck. And sadly, that caused more frustration, since often IT needs time to implement the other parts of a successful system. Networking, load balancing, VM distribution, storage allocation, security, development/integration, you name it. Things are faster because one of the big time sinks is gone, but they’re not instantaneous, because only one of the big time sinks is gone, the others hang about and require work to be successful.

This continued business frustration – the feeling that there is so much more the business could do if IT wasn’t slow to react, almost always accompanied by an unrelated anecdotal point of reference about how so-n-so does it so much faster than our IT, is often even worse. Having been led to believe that virtualization would make IT more adaptable and responsive, business customers now take fast spin-up time for granted and wonder why everything else still takes so long.

And therein lies the source of much pressure toward cloud computing from the business side. They’re aware that things can be made more efficient, they’ve seen it. They want those systems – that are almost  always one crucial part of a much larger business initiative – to be ready for use faster. They have been told that cloud will allow them to bypass IT. And they’re going to try it. For years industry pundits have been telling CIOs that they need to communicate more, I think we now have ample evidence that unless we can find a way to educate the entire business about the complexity of “I just want one server” when all the other factors are taken together, IT will continue to be seen as a roadblock rather than a facilitator.

Picture from UCSD


So you essentially have two options. You can break out every discussion with business people to include each part of the IT process as a distinct and separate procedure – treat each group as a separate entity and drive home how many moving parts there are to the process required – or IT Management at all levels can start doing what we were told in the 90s a good CIO had to do… Be the agent of business change.

Seeing articles where companies, sometimes even IT management, brag about how many virtual hosts per admin they have makes me a bit queasy. Seriously. So you’ve got 285 virtuals per admin, good for you. Are those admins sane? Do they have the other responsibilities normal to an IT department? Do they sleep? How many virtuals you’ve dumped upon an admin is not nearly as important as what your rate of IT turnover is. And we don’t have an actual number for what is acceptable. Of course it varies, but the numbers most frequently kicked around out there – 90 virtualized hosts per admin – seem more to be a number pulled out of the air (or somewhere worse) that the progenitors then went to find empirical evidence to support. I’d love to see enterprises turning up a number that makes sense for them, and using it as a goalpost for hiring. After all, virtualization makes you more adaptable and saves money on hardware, if hiring to maintain both is an issue, I worry for your employer.

More generally, now that the fetters of hardware have been shed from server creation, I contend that the business needs to self-police more effectively. You seriously cannot do everything, and business prioritization of IT related projects has somewhat been chucked out the window because it is “easy to spin up more copies”. Some businesses – like universities – need a model where users can spin up whatever they like, whenever they like. Most businesses just do not fit in this model. Even if business departments had the capability to automate the entire creation process, it is still just a server that needs something running on it.

Returning weight to the business prioritization process is likely the best way to handle such a conundrum. When it comes down to it, telling the business that they have to prioritize and you’ll place numbers around what it takes to get the job done and work as far down the prioritization as possible is a viable solution, but continues to leave the business dwelling on how IT held them back. Better, if you can manage it, is what some companies have done – a return to charge-backs. This model is very good for encouraging business owners to reconsider their needs on a regular basis, but does require even more overhead from your IT staff. The time invested will likely pay dividends in forcing the business to reconsider their IT usage on a regular basis and fits well in any model that includes cloud computing, but still creates friction with business units because they, like consumers, are always certain they can find a better deal somewhere else. Which of course they likely cannot, at least not if they need security, interoperability, integration, and access to the organization’s databases, but for some, all of that is stuff that will “work itself out”. It will if you let it happen, when the application and all of its problems return to you. Lori has a great blog about this topic.


Truth be told, I have some ideas on how to fix the problems of an adaptive infrastructure fueling explosive growth, but in the end, I don’t have the answers. Nor does that consultant you hired. It is a difficult problem that (yet again) places IT in the unfortunate position of being necessary to support the business, while the business often feels IT is slowing it down. To my mind the problem is complex, and includes issues both within IT (like analysis paralysis and standards bloat) but the facet that seems key is the part where the business has been telling IT to do more with less for so long that it is time for the business to do less and try to be good at what they do. Quality versus quantity. Some will gasp and want to talk about external pressures and “have to have” applications to keep up with the competition. I hear those concerns. I also hear that IT is groaning under the pressure, and it is not a failure to perform, nearly all of the IT staff I know is working hard, very hard, and barely keeping their heads above water.

Some days I think it would be very cool to see a medium sized (or larger) enterprise dump their entire infrastructure to the cloud and then magically expect things to be better. Then at least business would have an abject lesson in the reality of the situation… But sadly, we have those examples with outsourcing the entire IT department, and it doesn’t seem to teach the correct lesson. Instead of learning that computers are every bit as complex as IT claims, business leaders learned to avoid IT-replacement outsourcing contracts. I’m a fan of helping, but some problems are not technology problems, and the tension of business vs. IT is one of them. Just remember that they don’t think they have unreasonable demands, they think “no” is an unreasonable answer, and since IT doesn’t (generally) contribute to the bottom line, they don’t want to spend one penny more than necessary on it. Discussing “necessary” is a good place to start, though it really is just a starting point.

The short take-away is that today you can virtualize practically your entire data center. With products like LTM VE, ARX, and EDGE Gateway you can virtualize the vast majority of your infrastructure along with your servers. But the three things you cannot virtualize are data, process, and people. That virtualized infrastructure still needs apps, security, etc, your people still need sleep, and your data is a key business asset, but is useless without applications to access it. So the problems aren’t gone, and cloud doesn’t change that fact. Virtualization merely solves a small slice of the problem, the rest is up to your organization.

And of course, take away the fact that the business has to be more stringent on what gets priority. This is complex in a large enterprise, “the business” is not so readily defined and many times different lines of business have competitive streaks where resources like IT are concerned… But dumping that business problem on IT just because it’s complex and IT is the obvious center point? Not the answer. Not that the business listens to me when I say that, but it’s true.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Global Network has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The IoT Global Network is a platform where you can connect with industry experts and network across the IoT community to build the successful IoT business of the future.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.