|By Pat O'Day||
|October 11, 2007 10:45 PM EDT||
With the proliferation of computers and data in the business world, it's time the IT department had a strategic weapon that will enable it to operate with the same flexibility as other departments and with more financial transparency. A large part of the answer is a new concept in hardware and data storage known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Every year at budget time, IT executives play the same old guessing game. How much will the company grow in the coming year, and what IT assets will it need to support that growth? A mistake in either direction can be financially disastrous and career ending since companies are increasingly holding managers' feet to the fire about meeting their targets.
Guessing too high, based on sanguine business projections that may not pan out, or lack of good planning data burdens a company with expensive hardware that may sit underutilized or IT staff that may need to be downsized.
Guessing too low can mean a scramble midway through the year to squeeze existing inadequate computing and storage capacity to their limits, endangering the business's ability to sustain growth and creating an overwhelmed staff that may find it easier to seek employment elsewhere.
The many crucial jobs IT performs for a company are hard enough - provisioning employees and keeping their workstations up and running; protecting data to meet the stringent requirements imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI, and other regulations; managing data recovery and business continuity; and so on. The risk of operating with inadequate resources or burning unnecessarily through corporate funds are unwelcome addenda to the IT department's burden.
Now imagine a world where you can scale your IT capacity up or down on command without any capital expenditure. Imagine knowing that all your data is safely backed up and can be restored in hours, even if it's totally wiped out. Imagine being able to free your highly skilled IT staff to work on value-added tasks such as development and planning, instead of chasing bugs and installing patches ad infinitum. And now, as the executive in charge of your IT division, imagine doubling your personal market value (read salary) as you free yourself from tactical concerns and build a path to fulfilling a more strategic corporate role than ever before.
This world exists. It's enabled by a new business concept based on virtualizing the IT environment and is called Infrastructure as a Service. IaaS extends the remote hosting concept of Software as a Service (SaaS) to hardware.
If IaaS is a fairly new concept to you let me provide a basic understanding. Fundamentally, IaaS provides IT resources - processing power, storage, data center space, services, compliance - on-demand, enabling IT to bill these services as a variable fixed cost.
The interest in IaaS can be attributed to significant increases in IT-enabled business models such as e-commerce, Web 2.0 and SaaS, which drive demand, and by advances in technology that enable it, including virtualization, utility computing, and data center automation.
Just-in-Time power and computing capacity sounds like a dream come true to many people, yet to others it might sound like a nightmare in which they lose control of their IT environment, or worse, become redundant themselves as computing tasks are offloaded to an outside supplier. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, IaaS can be viewed as the newest strategic weapon in the IT arsenal, rather than a threat.
Weapon 1: The IT Administrator Takes a More Strategic Role
According to Forrester Research's 2007 worldwide PC adoption forecast, "There will be more than a billion PCs in use by the end of 2008 and more than two billion by 2015 - a 12.3% compound annual growth rate." With that kind of explosive growth in the computer sector, it's clear that the IT administrator's scope of responsibility is going to change dramatically.
When you hire an IT administrator you don't want someone who just knows how to log into a Windows box, find his way around, and get little things to work. You want someone who understands the big picture, who can grasp the importance of the 200 or 2,000 computers in use at your company and how they all operate together, and can manage them as a fleet. That's the Infrastructure as a Service model.
When administrators can manage five to 10 times the number of devices they're managing today, it might sound like a fast track to downsizing, but the real equation is the availability of trained staff in today's IT market, and how best to utilize their talents. As we know, there's a shortage of IT skills, so what companies need is a weapon that will enable them to recruit and retain good people. Since we can't educate new people fast enough, there's also a need for professionals who understand how to do more with less.
IaaS is the enabler.
At some point in their careers, IT people realize that they can only exert their influence or philosophy on things they can touch directly. Without a disruptive change, such as scripting or data center automation, their touch is their limitation. The administrators of tomorrow will need to understand how to manage hundreds or even thousands of devices. IaaS doesn't take away responsibility, but adds a strategic dimension to the job of IT, making managers more marketable, because they're now accustomed to working at a higher level.
The idea of a one-server-to-one-administrator model is gone. The only people likely to be threatened by this concept are those who are comfortable with their limitations.
Weapon 2: It Gets Aligned with the Core Business
Every executive wishes IT would be better aligned with and able to support the core business strategy. Today's businesses realize that IT isn't just a tool to help, but is a critical part of day-to-day operations and frequently instrumental in delivering the end product. With e-commerce, B2B portals, EDI, IP phone systems, and even e-mail, today's applications are fully integrated into the business, so it's critical that they behave the way the business does.
The first step to business alignment is cost control. No additional IT dollars should be spent unless it makes a positive impact on revenue. With IaaS and its variable but predictable monthly costs, you can manage spending on a monthly instead of an annual basis.
IaaS enables a whole new and more transparent way of accounting for IT. Today, IT is one line item. You know what you spend on all of your servers, all of the labor to maintain those servers, all of the power, and so on. You tote it up and allocate it by business unit. In the IaaS model, precise usage and costs are transparent down to the resource level - blade servers, operating systems, storage.
Because these resources are modular and transparent, IT can begin to tie utilization more closely to the bill that each business unit receives. This creates a closer link between what the business unit spends and the "service" it gets. Once that link is established, IT can begin to change business unit behavior away from "all-you-can-eat" to prioritization and cost/benefit.
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
Oct. 26, 2014 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,705
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, will describe how to revoluti...
Oct. 25, 2014 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,731
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Oct. 24, 2014 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,447
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
Oct. 23, 2014 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,741
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash Inc., will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone a...
Oct. 23, 2014 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,615
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Oct. 23, 2014 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,732
BSQUARE is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com.
Oct. 23, 2014 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,680
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it’s a mix of architectural style...
Oct. 23, 2014 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,728
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
Oct. 23, 2014 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,753
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
Oct. 23, 2014 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,682
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
Oct. 23, 2014 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,654
Connected devices are changing the way we go about our everyday life, from wearables to driverless cars, to smart grids and entire industries revolutionizing business opportunities through smart objects, capable of two-way communication. But what happens when objects are given an IP-address, and we rely on that connection, sometimes with our lives? How do we secure those vast data infrastructures and safe-keep the privacy of sensitive information? This session will outline how each and every connected device can uphold a core root of trust via a unique cryptographic signature – a “bir...
Oct. 23, 2014 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,542
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Oct. 23, 2014 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,725
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Oct. 22, 2014 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,588
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Oct. 22, 2014 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,682
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...
Oct. 21, 2014 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,721
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
Oct. 21, 2014 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,630
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Oct. 21, 2014 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,728
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Oct. 21, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,879
Oct. 20, 2014 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,589