Beauchamp contends most IT shops have too many people doing mundane, repetitive tasks to provision and maintain IT services, which they need to automate to lower the cost and provision faster. The business-unit view of that problem is that they can't launch new products fast enough if it takes weeks or months to request and get computing capacity: "Everyone sees that IT is becoming the supply chain of so much of what business provides. If you think of what Dell and others did in the '90s to streamline supply chains, the same thing is happening in IT now. People are streamlining their IT supply chain."
On Oracle, integrated stacks, and heterogeneous data centers
I asked Beauchamp about Oracle's vision, accelerated with its Sun acquisition, of providing an ever-larger integrated stack of components. Doesn't that minimize the need for independent management tools like BMC's?
Beauchamp says it's an "absolutely an irreversible trend" that CIOs want their IT teams doing less integration. But they also only want what he calls "logical integration"--buying components together only when they make sense to combine: "Just because one company sells computers and refrigerators doesn't mean you're going to buy your refrigerator from them." While they want fewer vendors, CIOs also fear vendor lock-in.
So even as Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and IBM offer growing data-center stacks, and Cisco, Dell, and EMC have their own variations, Beauchamp says the diversity in data centers keeps growing.
For virtualization, companies are adding vendors--considering not just VMware virtualization engines, but also ones from Microsoft, Citrix, and Red Hat. There's the option of cloud infrastructure as a service. Throw in the changing nature of a "desktop" to include mobile devices from smartphones to netbooks and tablets. "It's actually becoming much more heterogeneous, and some of that heterogeneity is not even inside your data center," Beauchamp says.
This complexity isn't going to taper off. Data centers were once static operations judged on reliability, security, and capital costs. Today they're also expected to be nimble, global, and green. CIOs who can manage that and deliver on Beauchamp's notion of a streamlined IT supply chain will help their companies get to new opportunities first.
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Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek.
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