Are you giving your business a competitive advantage?
// Virtualization Management Software & Data Center Control | VMTurbo » VMTurbo Blog
I talk with a lot of different individuals who work in IT in some way shape or form on a regular basis. Lately I am seeing a trend that transcends from systems engineers all the way up to CIOs that I can't seem to wrap my head around. If I am working together with a potential VMTurbo candidate we will typically discuss things like how and why something was architected a particular way or maybe how they ensure they are getting the most out of the infrastructure resources they have already invested in.
Somewhere during these sessions the conversation almost always comes back to performance, and this is where I get somewhat lost. Usually I will ask something like "how do you guys typically identify performance issues in environment today?" The answers that I get range from "usually when an end user calls us" or "only when my phone rings" and sometimes responses like "our goal is to keep lights on, if it ain't broke don't fix it."
On the surface these seem like completely logical answers right? If you work with data center technologies, your goal is to maintain uptime, ensure that customers and end users can access applications required to perform their day to day jobs. But is this type of logic actually aiding your organization in a sufficient manner? Are you actually allowing your organization to recognize the benefits of a skilled information technology team and providing them with a true competitive advantage, or are you simply keeping the lights on?
How do you support the business?
Think about it for a minute. What types of applications does your organization leverage? How do these applications support the business? How do YOU support these applications? It can be a scary thought for some if you actually take a step back and think about it.
The fact that Google apparently uses cheap homegrown servers with a KVM hypervisor on top gives them a competitive advantage. The fact that trading firms have identified that a 1 millisecond difference in latency can result in upwards of $100 million per year is giving them a competitive advantage. The fact that the Indianapolis Colts reported deflated footballs to the NFL in an attempt to suspend Tom Brady from play was an attempt (see failed one) at a competitive advantage.
The point is, uptime isn't good enough anymore. Slow is the new down, and the quicker we start adopting that mindset, the more of an asset we become to the business.
A simple example
A colleague of mine used to use this simple example whenever he was working with a potential client and as elementary as it seems, it makes a lot of sense when you think of delivering a competitive advantage.
Have you ever moved a virtual machine to fix a problem? Have you ever moved a virtual machine to prevent a problem?
That simple statement summarizes how IT operations teams think about managing environments today. We monitor things in the environment, wait for something negative to occur, and then take action as quickly as possible. If we want to assist the business in gaining a competitive advantage, then the software we invest in needs to be a competitive advantage itself. We need to adopt the logic of a software that is going to aggressively put our infrastructure in the best position possible at all times versus continuing down the antiquated path of "why would I do anything at all when nothing seems to be a problem right now?"
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