Slammed by economic uncertainty and global competition, CIOs must lower costs and create adaptable systems that can shift on a dime to meet changing business conditions. Yet many legacy IT infrastructures are not only inefficient but brittle, requiring expensive and risky rework to accommodate new business models, delivery channels and product types.
During a brainstorming session conducted by the TCS Innovation Forum, vendors and customers described why IT simplification can be so…well, complex. They also explained the need for in-depth information about your current environment, as well as new tools and processes (such as forensic computing) to meet today’s demands for lower cost and agility.
If any doubted the problem, Harrick Vin of TCS Innovation Labs described a leading U.S. bank has more than 30,000 servers, 20,000 databases, 200,000 desktops, 35 different programming languages and 25 plus middleware platforms. This creates a nightmare just to manage, must less streamline.
Mark Jaffe (founder and CEO of Prelert), pointed out that simplifying the provisioning of new applications makes it more difficult to the impact of the change will be in these environments and isolating the cause of performance abnormalities has become extremely difficult. “While technologies such as load balancing & virtualization provide the agility required to quickly deploy new services without additional hardware, managing and servicing of those applications has become extremely difficult,” he said. “This is because the new technologies that enable agility also obscure how the underlying layers of technology are operating and how they work together,” he said.
Michael Bischoff, IT Director of the London Clearing House, focused on standardizing IT services on a limited set of platforms and capacities. If a business user absolutely needs an application running on, say, an AS400, they’re asked to procure it through software as a service or as a hybrid cloud. He has adopted a “zero growth” strategy of buying no more data center space, servers or power than they now use. Its contracts with data center and power providers now are based on a 30% reduction in space and power over the next three years, compared to an earlier forecast of a 30% increase.
Vin described a suite of TCS-developed set of tools and a work bench that provides a systematic, data driven and analytics-lead approach towards simplifying IT, with standard templates and tools to gather and analyze the right data. Doug Saucier, VP of Enterprise Architecture at Avery, used what he calls “forensic computing” to understand his current environment and how it supported the business so it could understand where and how to simplify. With help from TCS, Avery has completed its second major data center transformation, on-time and funded by operational savings.
All in all, said Bischoff, “IT is growing up. We are being prevented from buying new toys and tools and we are being asked to operate more like a manufacturing organization. Or, he says, like governance and risk managers for the business. “I am really worried about governance when people can buy server power with their credit card like I did last week,” he said. “My firewall did not stop me, our governance processes did not stop me, our security department did not stop me. We are going to have to get some really strong governance models about how we manage this stuff going forward as we become less traditional IT shops and frankly more governance and risk managers for our business.”
Read a full summary, or download the white paper, Insights from TCS Innovation Forum 2010 l Theme: Infrastructure Simplification and Transformation.