Software // Information Management
Commentary
5/7/2008
04:15 PM
Neil Raden
Neil Raden
Commentary
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Stop Managing From Scarcity!

Over the past few years, I've been suggesting that people stop managing from scarcity. The cost of hardware has fallen so sharply that we should reevaluate our methodologies and designs that sacrifice function for resource efficiency. In data warehousing, we still create summarized versions of detailed data... depriving people of the analytical content of the whole picture... Is this really necessary?

What's the Deal With Server Virtualization? Over the past few years, I've been suggesting that people stop managing from scarcity. What that means is that the cost of hardware has fallen so sharply that we should reevaluate our methodologies and designs that sacrifice function for resource efficiency. In data warehousing, we still create summarized versions of detailed data in order to avoid costly queries from eating up the big data warehouse, depriving people of the analytical content of the whole picture. In other cases, people are restricted to certain times of the day, or certain subsets of data or governors are placed on queries. With the cost of computing power dropping four or five orders of magnitude since data warehouses were invented, is this really necessary?I don't think so. I've counseled my clients to bulk up on the metal and not worry about it as a top priority. Instead, they should search for creative and useful ways to use what they've created, thanks to Dr. Moore.

So where does virtualization fit in? I suppose it's always a good idea to use your resources efficiently, but that's not the same as being stingy and overprotective. Accoding to TechTarget, "server virtualization can be viewed as part of an overall virtualization trend in enterprise IT that includes storage virtualization, network virtualization, and workload management. This trend is one component in the development of autonomic computing, in which the server environment will be able to manage itself based on perceived activity. Server virtualization can be used to eliminate server sprawl, to make more efficient use of server resources, to improve server availability, to assist in disaster recovery, testing and development, and to centralize server administration."

That makes perfect sense, but I have only one question. Why is all the advertising about virtualization pushing the cost savings and green theme, in particular, saving electricity? It seems like now that we can finally afford the hardware to do some really important and challenging things, we can't afford the electricity or the real estate to house it. Are we right back to managing from scarcity? I hope not. Gas may be over $4 a gallon here in California, but I still don't put just enough gas in the tank to make the next trip.

So what I'm suggesting is, don't let the old scarcity thinking creep into your virtualization plans. Leave us a little headroom.Over the past few years, I've been suggesting that people stop managing from scarcity. The cost of hardware has fallen so sharply that we should reevaluate our methodologies and designs that sacrifice function for resource efficiency. In data warehousing, we still create summarized versions of detailed data... depriving people of the analytical content of the whole picture... Is this really necessary?

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