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The Storage Economist

Transformation and the Impact from Converged Infrastructures—Part 5

by David Merrill on Oct 30, 2012

This is the 5th and final blog installment on the topic of transformation projects and their impact to IT teams. So far I have touched on the staff impact due to virtualization, chargeback, MSU/Capacity on Demand, and now I would like to wrap up the series with a few words about converged infrastructures. I refer you to Hu’s blog on the “do it yourself” pattern of IT systems integration and bundling, and what is now available in pre-tested and certified systems. Notice the stereo system picture in that blog, and the neatness and order of everything on that desk. This would have been a geek’s dream in the 70’s, and that picture epitomizes a lot of qualities and Hu’s interests.

I will not talk here about the benefits and cost savings from unified or converged infrastructures, but the impact to your organization by adopting and moving to converged systems has to be factored into this transformation. Aside from hardware and software, converged infrastructures also imply converged:

  • IT support teams
  • Procurement, vendor certification
  • Operational processes (provisioning, change control, CMDB)
  • Converged architectures
  • Converged service catalogs
  • Troubleshooting
  • Disaster protection, testing, recovery
  • Management metrics, KPI (uptime, utilization, etc.)
  • Operational management that is complemented by the orchestration software
  • De-commissioning assets and lifecycle management

There is plenty of proof around the benefits and cost savings of converged systems, but a fair amount of organizational re-engineering (or at least reconsiderations) will be required as part of this change. Teams and processes have grown up over decades in silos and specializations (server, network, applications, storage, desktop, etc.) and now that vendors have delivered effective converged hardware systems one cannot assume that the human element is easily transformed. There is a lot of pride and specialization in skills and training within these (silo) teams, and you should not underestimate the transformation needed with the team members. A single converged environment may appear as a job or best-practices threat. Some may believe that off-the-shelf converged infrastructures will no longer require the skilled engineering of the past.

My recommendation is to put as much time and thought into your staff transformation going forward, as you put into transformation with virtualization, converged infrastructures, chargeback and new consumption models. The skills and in-house knowledge is invaluable to the team, and these skills and work products need just as much transformation effort as the underlying technologies.

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David Merrill - The Storage Economist

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