IT Complexity Continues to Worsen

“Today, people go out and buy personal use cell-phones, blackberry devices, PCs, PDAs and assorted software and other things. These are brought into the office and the users expect them to work with the employer’s incumbent systems. It usually falls on IT to make this happen.”

So, what we end up with is an IT environment that is becoming harder to manage and secure and that increases risk to the business, said Mike Wentz, VP of worldwide Enterprise Support for Symantec.

“I think it’s clear that the complexity of the infrastructure of the datacenter is growing,” said Wentz. “You have everything from, at the top layer, sort of the normal databases … and then there’s the layer of middleware — Oracle, MS, SAP — applications on top of that; and then the requirement for data protection through storage management through server management through application performance and all the various different pieces and components of software that go into making those four critical pieces function. You obviously have the network layer, the storage layer, the server layer and virtual machines.

“So, all that complexity certainly increases the risks that CIO’s bear.”

To manage all of this complexity many organizations are turning to automation, virtualization and other tools and, most importantly, new governance structures. But, in his experience, one of the victims of complexity is good governance, said Wentz.

“A lot of what were seeing is the support staff in the IT infrastructure in many cases are not trained well enough, they don’t know the operational programs well enough … and so I think that’s where we’re seeing a shift — is that the governance model is weak and that’s there’s a huge risk from the people side.”

There is some good news, but it’s just not going to get here anytime soon. According to EMA’s Craig, sometime in the next half decade or so, autonomic computing will take a big chunk out of the day-to-day running of IT. And, at the least, this will free up people and budget for innovation, which, of course, is what the business wants but may well indeed lead to more complexity beginning the cycle again.

“Within the next — this is really going out on a limb — but I would say three-to-four years we can begin to see products making a significant dent in the 60-to-80 percent that were talking about in terms of keeping the lights on.”

“The infrastructure, if anything, is going to get more complex, but what I’m looking to see happen is that products that manage the infrastructure … are going to get stronger and stronger.”

We’ll see.