The Future of IT Infrastructure And Data Centers: A New Wave Of Consolidation And Optimization

Like a song stuck on repeat, enterprise IT hardware decision makers tell Forrester once again that consolidation and optimization top their list of priorities into 2014. According to Forrester's Q3 2013 Hardware survey, 77% deem server, storage and network virtualization and consolidation a high or citical priority—followed by 68% who prioritize the automating the management of virtualized servers to gain flexibility and resiliency. Conslidation + Optimization.

But what's new this time around is that the next wave of IT infrastructure and data center consolidation and optimization requires a new approach centered around workload-centric, software-defined, and hybrid cloud. If you're an IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professional tasked with IT infrastructure and data center strategy, it's time to incorporate these themes into your approach:

  • Application-centric infrastructure optimizes infrastructure around what matters most. For too long, IT infrastructure has aligned to silos of technology, resulting in complexity, low satisfaction, poor communication, and wasted money. To deliver better business results over the next decade, Forrester advocates that you take an application-centric (or workload-centric) approach: Design your IT infrastructure to fit the apps and workloads that are critical to customers.
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Six Steps Enterprise IT Should Take To Proactively Prepare For Windows 8

Two days ago I had an interview with the Head of End User and Desktop Services of a global pharmaceutical company. He mentioned that he's working through Windows 8, VDI, BYO and other key initiatives facing IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals. 

As a quick thank you, I sent him Dave Johnson's recent report on Windows 8. This report is part of Forrester's Workforce Enable Playbook (click here for a free copy of the exec overview) that Dave along with J. P. GownderMichele PelinoChristian KaneChris Voce and Thayer Frechette all contribute to. Here's what he had to say: 

 

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Forrester In Your News: Happy Workers = Happy Customers, Windows 8, Software-Defined Data Centers, BYOT China, Mobile Shoppers

What do the top 3% of IT leaders know about workforce computing that you don’t? When will (or won’t) Windows 8 hit critical mass in enterprises? What about software-defined data centers and networks? How can IT support the mobile shopper?

If you’re an IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professional looking for answers, read below. While I like to believe that www.forrester.com and this blog are your only two sources of information (wink, wink), I’ve handpicked advice and point of view from Forrester analysts quoted over the last two weeks in the The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, National Public Radio, InformationWeek, ZDNet, CIO, Computerworld, and others.

Some articles are very relevant for I&O leaders to act on (e.g.,workforce enablement, Windows 8, software-defined data centers, private cloud), while others offer important marketing and strategy insights for I&O leaders to be aware of (e.g., mobile shoppers, Google Glass, customer intelligence).

Is this useful? Let me know in the comment field below.

Thanks and enjoy your weekend,

Doug

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Very Relevant Business Technology News For I&O Leaders:

The Wall Street Journal
David Johnson
What The Top 3% Of IT Leaders Know About Workforce Computing
May 7, 2013

IDG News Service

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Q&A With Charles Araujo, Author Of "The Quantum Age of IT"

Transformation: The topic of many, many conversations Forrester Analysts have with business and technology leaders everyday. But the definition and scope of transformation seems to vary widely depending role, title, industry, sphere of influence, and other factors. For example, here's a sampling of recent inquiry questions from Forrester clients to Analysts focused on transformation:

 

"How can we transform our customer experience globally to improve ROI?" (Customer Experience Leader, Telecommunications)

"How transformational is the value of social networking and social media to business?" (Marketing Leader, Financial Services)

"What are the key drivers of banking application transformation?" (Application Development Leader, Banking)

"How do we prepare IT skills for transformation as we move from in-house apps to SaaS and outsourcing?" (Sourcing Leader, Entertainment)

"How can we transform our data centers to operate more like a cloud services provider?" (Data Center Leader, U.S. Government)

"What is the business case for large scale desktop virtualization as we transform our computing environment?" (Workforce Computing Leader, Pharmaceuticals)

 

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Forrester In Your News: Browser Wars, BYOD (again!), x86 Servers, Disaster Recovery, Mobile Engagement . . .

If IBM is thinking about exiting the server business, why should you in enterprise IT stay in it? If BYOD accelerates browser diversity, how will you develop and support corporate apps differently? And how will the globalization of eCommerce impact your business?

These are just a few of the questions you might be asking yourself based on the headlines from this week. If you're looking for answers, hopefully this third installment of "Forrester In Your News" for IT Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) professionals will help.

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Forrester In Your News: Microsoft Takes Aim At Amazon's Cloud, Windows 8 Start Button, BYOD > BYOT, Digital Disruption . . .

I write this week's "Forrester In Your News" from my apartment in Boston. Forrester's Cambridge office just across the Charles River from me is closed today, like many in the area, as events continue to develop from Monday's tragedy at the Boston Marathon. For those of us in the U.S., and especially Boston, it's hard to think about anything else. But if you need to give your mind and emotions a rest, I offer you the following . . .

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Forrester In Your News: BYOD, Tablets, Microsoft, Death of the PC (Not), Amazon, Customers . . .

Do you remember your “Current Events” class? It was the one where there was always a pop quiz on what’s happening in the news. Think if you were in that class today and there was a segment on business and technology: Where would you turn? 

While we like to believe that www.Forrester.com and this blog are your only two sources of information (wink, wink), we recognize that there are other valuable publications to help you stay on top of business and technology happenings. The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, Associated Press, La Tribune, Forbes, Wired, CIO, InformationWeek, and ZDNet to name a few. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are also great resources.

To help IT Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders stay current, I've handpicked media from this week that features quotes and data from Forrester’s I&O analysts and a few others. Some articles are very relevant to I&O leaders (ex. stories on BYOD, tablets, Microsoft), while others offer important marketing and strategy insights for I&O leaders to be aware of (ex. business trends in retail and banking, big data, voice of the customer strategies).

Is this useful? If so, I'm happy to do this weekly or every other week. Let me know in the comment field below.

Thanks and enjoy your weekend,

Doug

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Very Relevant Business Technology News For I&O Leaders:

The Wall Street Journal 
Featured Forrester Analyst: Christian Kane
No contract phones could complicate BYOD 
April 8, 2013

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Despite An Affair With My iPad, I Just Can’t Give Up My Laptop. . . Yet

A year and a half ago I broke up with Blackberry and started dating iPhone. It was a clean but cruel breakup: AT&T cancelled my T-Mobile contract on my behalf, the equivalent of getting dumped by your girlfriend’s new boyfriend.

This year I’ve been cheating on my laptop with my iPad. But it’s an on-again, off-again relationship. While I tell my iPad it’s the only one, I keep going back to my laptop. When I travel, my iPad is with me meeting clients. Meanwhile my laptop is in the hotel room surfing the online menu for a turkey club.

The iPad beats my laptop on size, weight, connectivity, and battery life. It also improves the human element when I’m having a face-to-face conversation but need to take notes. These are all critically important to me when I'm out of the office visiting clients or at an event.

But my laptop wins when I need to perform other important activities. For example, the larger screen really helps to write and edit research reports (John Rakowski, you’ll have your edits soon!). Or when I need to approve expenses behind the VPN or access files on my hard drive that I haven’t stored in Google Drive (yes, Forrester sanctioned).

Now that I've had a few months of compare both devices, I come back to outcomes . . .

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No “Leaders” Of Data Center Networking And Hosted Private Cloud Solutions

 

Okay, I know it sounds a little dramatic… but it’s true.

Over the last four months, Forrester Analysts Andre Kindness (@AndreKindness) and Lauren Nelson (@Lauren_E_Nelson) evaluated providers of data center networking and hosted private cloud solutions. Andre got dirty in the plumbing (uhh, I mean networking), and Lauren had her head in the clouds. Each report represents months of vendor and customer interviews, demos, and analysis. In short, they did the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.

So what did they find?

While there are no “Leaders” – there are a number of "Strong Performers" and "Contenders." This means that if you’re thinking of investing in infrastructure that your increasingly digital business will run on, you will have to make tradeoffs. Here are a few highlights of each report:

  • Forrester’s Data Center Networking Wave™: Andre evaluated the eight most significant vendors across 85 criteria — Alcatel-Lucent, Arista Networks, Avaya, Brocade Communications Systems, Cisco Systems, Extreme Networks, HP, and Juniper Networks. Andre's assessment of the vendors' current offerings evaluated the completeness of each vendor’s solution to support a scalable, secure, standardized, shared, and simplified platform that would connect users to applications and data within a data center.
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Rethinking Your IT Infrastructure And Operations: Q&A With Christophe Guillard, CTO Office, Sanofi

If you’re interested in how to rethink your approach to IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) to help your business better compete, I encourage you to read on . . .

As I prepared for Forrester’s Infrastructure & Operations Forum EMEA 2012 in Paris next week (June 19-20), I had the opportunity to connect with one of our industry keynoters, Christophe Guillard, who has led the CTO office at global healthcare company Sanofi since 2010. He is responsible for the strategic, financial, and process excellence of the New Global Infrastructure Services organization, which includes 800 collaborators, 110,000 users, and 400 sites worldwide.

At the Forum, Christophe will be joined by Ian M. Clayton, author, Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge, Gery Bonte, CTO, Saint-Gobain, and other industry keynoters. Next week, Christophe will share the comprehensive infrastructure transformation that took place at Sanofi. But below is a recap of our conversation that he will discuss further during his keynote:

DW: What were the main challenges you were faced with before you started this transformation?

CG: We embarked on our global IT transformation journey two years ago and, at the time, Sanofi IT was aligned to the structure of the company and mostly siloed within each business. As a result, collaboration across the different businesses and geographies was limited and some parts of our IT infrastructure were duplicated.

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