Business Intelligence, Green Computing and Virtualization.

On the surface the world of IT seems to heavily focused on the Internet and the current social networking revolution. I’ve ranted and raved about social networking  before but what most people will miss out on are the trends that go on behind the scenes of these web giants. I’m sure all my technically inclined readers will see the above title and groan (as I did when they were first thrust upon me) but there is an interesting story behind each of the buzz terms.

Virtualization is a word that has become a household name in all IT shops. The concept is simple, take one large piece of hardware and carve it up into smaller pieces so that you can get more out of it than if you used it as one big one. My first encounter with this kind of software was for running Linux machines at home for my university projects. I was lucky enough to begin my system administrator career just as virtualization began making headways into large corporate environments and the little experience I had translated into my foot in the door for many large virtualization projects.

Arguably the most successful proprietor of virtualization would be VMware who started way back in 1998 and released their first product a year later. They were my first foray into the world of virtualization and were the ones that I and many others have built our IT careers off of. Many other players have joined the market since then all of them bringing something unique to the market. In essence virtualization enables IT based companies the ability to rapidly expand their business by leveraging their current investments.

Green computing is something I’ve mentioned in the past and is interesting to note that it was probably the next big after virtualization to rock the IT infrastructure world. With people virtualizing and consolidating their resources many found their IT environments using the majority of their resources. This in turn meant that these machines were working harder and using more electricity and cooling. Along comes the green initiative with people looking to cash in on companies who are trying to improve their corporate image and goodwill by taking up a green initiative. Due in part to the economic downturn you won’t hear many people talking up the green-ness of their IT centre anymore, although power usage reduction through technology like blade servers is something that quite a lot of shops are looking at to save costs.

The next big idea that I see coming along is that of business intelligence. I’ve begun noticing that over the past few years end user’s trust in their IT departments has been increasing. As anecdotal as this is the last 2 places that I worked in were initially distrusted by their end users. As time went by I could see the change in the perception in the business areas that I was interacting with as instead of telling me what they wanted they asked what the best solution would be. The business minded amongst us would recognise this as a step up in the capability maturity of the organisation which shifts end user’s expectations away from IT as a utility and more to a service.

Once such abstraction takes place however it is hard for business units to realise the value that IT is providing to the organisation as a whole. Enter the business intelligence solutions that perform detailed metrics on an environment in order to give business minded people the right information in order to make judgements about the direction of their IT environment. As more and more environments mature in their capability these kinds of intelligence solutions are going to become critical if IT is required to justify its existence, just as if it was a profit center.

And yes I know you could play buzzword bingo with this post, but I’ll forgive you if you do 😛

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