It had to happen eventually. CIOs are being asked to do more with the same. That’s right, the same. In more and more organizations, IT budgets have stabilized or, in more rare circumstances, are inching upward.
Yet, it seems like only yesterday that IT departments were flooded with costly initiatives. Corporations were preparing for Y2K, building infrastructure to support the new digital e-business environment, fighting traditional virus outbreaks, and working ceaselessly toward setting up the systems and processes needed to demonstrate compliance with a host of challenging industry and government regulations.
It’s not that CIOs no longer have anything to worry about. It’s just that today, IT organizations are much better positioned to meet such demands and no longer are relegated to offering only reactive responses.
For those CIOs who find themselves in a position to finally launch IT initiatives that are proactive as opposed to reactive, the question is where to begin.
Though they are not new, there are two areas where technology has improved to the point where more really can be done with the same: automation and virtualization. Another difference is CIOs are on the crest of finally having the time and the resources to fully pursue these two options.
Thanks in part to the growing numbers of tools now on the market, automation and virtualization enable organizations to make better use of resources at hand and, in turn, improve the business without compromising the bottom line.
For example, traditional IT has built simple scripts and tools to help manage the data center. An IT technician sits at a terminal in the data center, kicks off a script, and starts a batch job. Or a technician sends a command to the backup tape system to pull a certain tape and begins running a backup. A similar scenario occurs when performing regular maintenance on Oracle databases or storage systems, when deploying patches across the enterprise, and more.
By automating these and other tasks, organizations can greatly reduce the burden on IT and, in turn, keep costs under control. Automation can start small by automating certain tasks and components.
For a more system-wide, holistic solution for data center management, organizations can take advantage of a growing number of solutions that, through integration, take automation beyond components and tasks and include applications and higher-level data center systems.
These tools make compliance with SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act), and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) a more proactive task even in the most resource-constrained environments. These types of transformative data center automation solutions can address a number of items on every IT director’s wish list, from controlling administration costs to keeping applications running, delivering appropriate service levels, ensuring technical compliance, and optimizing asset utilization.
Then there’s virtualization. While not new, virtualization of both server applications and storage has become an effective mechanism for IT managers to not only provide redundancy for mission-critical applications and data but also to extend limited resources within overcrowded data centers.