Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't underestimate the infrastructure

We all would love to live in a world where extremely complex and sophisticated technology was just simple and easy. Commodity IT, where I can just turn-on my PC and the world is at my finger tips. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but...

Things break - That's life.

We wish they wouldn't.

Like my good friend and colleague Jon Land says "When I booted up my 3270, things just worked. Unless the Mainframe was down". Of course that was until we tried to utilize that system with the corporate networks, Internet and now mobile applications. Then all of sudden we are back into the world chaos.

The analogy of comparing plumbing and IT infrastructure services drives a lot of IT folks crazy, but I like it.

Let's compare this:

  • Plumbers cost $60-$80/hr, here in Massachusetts anyway . Yet, the average IT infrastructure consultant is about $40-$55/hr.

  • The cost of copper is driving plumbing up through the roof. Just in case you didn't realize guess what is in those rubber ethernet cables... you guessed it, copper. Material costs are through the roof in IT as well, plus we have energy costs off the chart which are more now that we have more dense operating environments.

  • Recycling and conservation. Water costs are going up, and so is the cost of recycling old equipment.

  • The quality of water in larger facilities are less than desirable and costs are significant to upgrade and improve. Likewise, the performance of networks and systems in larger organizations are not acceptable and significant costs are needed to upgrade and improve.

I could go on with this comparison, but the bottom line is that having turn-key (or turn-faucet) results requires solid planning, a total approach to design and the understanding that when things break it's going to be messy.

A failure to incorporate your infrastructure needs into your enterprise architecture, will result in a continual failure to get the services you need, when you need them.

Like the old adage says: Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

Next up: Can we really spend less and get more? I will share with you 5 top areas of IT spending that could probably be cut in-half.

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