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The elephant in the data center


By Steve Wibrew, Technical Services Strategy and Portfolio Lead, IT Management and Automation


Steve_Wibrew.jpgThe expression “the elephant in the room” refers to a situation that everyone sees, but no-one acknowledges. It may be a problem we view as intractable, or we may just find it uncomfortable to address. Either way, we have an elephant in our data center.


IT has been on a quest for the past 15 or so years to consolidate management of IT infrastructure. It started when we realized that delivery of IT services spanning networks, servers, storage, middleware and applications by individual, siloed teams was no longer the right approach. Different groups provided and administered each piece, but we had to combine status and failure information to see where the fault was if a user reported a service problem. Then we extended that thinking—and the integrated management solutions that developed—to include incident,  problem, configuration and change, performance management, IT planning, and the other management functions required to plan, build and operate IT. We’ve even been able to bridge the gap between development and operations. The payoff has been enormous—we have increased operational efficiency, improved service and made IT more agile.


But in most enterprises one big piece is still missing from this integrated view—the data center facilities that house and support IT infrastructure.


The challenge is that facilities are owned and operated by, well, facilities. And they are on a different operational path than IT. Issues like the cloud, mobility, big data, virtualization and security top IT’s list of things to think about and work on. Facilities, on the other hand, are more focused on location, long-term ROI, aging facilities, energy management and improving the environmental footprint of the business. We manage IT infrastructure around a lifecycle of three to five years. Facilities think in terms of 10 to 20 years. As a result, IT infrastructure and data center facilities don’t grow in sync. And IT agility can hit the wall, when we discover the walls aren’t far enough apart to house the equipment needed for the new project. Or the needed power or air-conditioning expansion has a year-long acquisition cycle.


But IT and facilities share a common purpose—to enable the success of the business. And we have some common goals: performance, reliability, agility and efficiency. So we have good grounds for the collaboration that we need to create a unified view of IT services that spans IT infrastructure and data center facilities. Such a view improves operational efficiencies—for both IT and facilities—and it enables the two organizations to move in sync when the business needs to move.


We are helping our customers with planning, designing, integrating and implementing converged management solutions that better serve the business and enable better collaboration between IT and facilities.


In IT, we have streamlined management through orchestration—automation that can transform IT professionals from fiddlers to composers. We’re applying the same concepts and technology to our converged management services to create a shared view of IT services and to improve processes by defining the organizational interfaces needed to move quickly.


The great thing about elephants is that once you get them working for you, they have a lot of power. You just have to learn how to harness it. 


To learn more about me and how I can help you improve your global IT environment, visit my HP Technology Expert profile. For more about converged management, see the slides from my recent session at HP Discover 2013, titled Managing the Data Center from a Single Pane of Glass, below.




Steve Wibrew is HP Technical Services Strategy and Portfolio Lead for IT Management and Automation. He designs consulting services to help customers manage and operate their IT systems and data center facilities more effectively. He has more than 37 years experience in IT operations and data center management.

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About the Author



Seems like my organization had put together a business case

to address the issues of different cost  centers and business units working together for the good of "One Company"

 years ago....


Let me know if you need some help. You really have to teach your business leaders to check there egos at the door





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