Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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8/24/2007
05:14 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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The CIO's Biggest Headache: Resource Constraint

I recently spoke with the CTO of a financial services firm and he told me a chilling tale of how his rapidly expanding firm had been "locked out" of needed data center resources.

I recently spoke with the CTO of a financial services firm and he told me a chilling tale of how his rapidly expanding firm had been "locked out" of needed data center resources.And it's not the first time I've heard from a top tech exec that the need for computing resources is outstripping supply. That seems to be a common complaint, one that will only increase as online activity increases, particularly in connection with e-commerce and Web 2.0 trends.

According to this particular CTO, his company has been working with two third-party data center services providers for a couple years. Recently, and within a short period of time, both came to him and said they were oversubscribed in terms of capacity, particularly in regard to power consumption and problems dealing with heat. The CTO was told by both service providers that his company couldn't request any more capacity. The first service provider even told him that his company would have to reduce the density in its blade server racks.

If there's one thing that can put the brakes on a rapidly growing firm, it's running out of compute capacity. The CTO says he's looking for other service providers that can handle his expanding workload.

This explosion in demand for computing resources is one of the most interesting trends in business today. After the dot-com meltdown and the 9/11 attacks, there seemed to be a slowdown in demand for computing resources. That trend has reversed itself, and demand is now skyrocketing. Sun Microsystems CTO Greg Papadopoulos even has coined a term for it: Red Shift. According to Papadopoulos, Red Shift is both cause and effect in the explosive demand for online services, which will only increase over the next several years.

Resource constraint appears to be one of the CIO's biggest headaches these days. But if that's true, the reverse also is -- and even more -- true: Ensuring that his or her organization has the resources necessary to accommodate growth is one of the most important jobs of being a CIO.

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