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Blog Post

IT Innovation Requires Network Innovation

The Consumerization of IT is a Panacea

A recent article by Larry Dignan about how IT has fallen behind the Tech Curve laments how slow and cumbersome enterprise IT has become relative to consumerized technologies. Larry covered a session at the recent Gartner Symposium and was advised by Gartner analysts that IT pros want the world to proceed in an orderly fashion and are weighed down by the legacy of previous choices.  That's a fair statement.

Gartner's solution, or at least that posed by analysts David Mitchell Smith and Tom Austin is for IT to simply let users buy their own gear:

"Now Gartner has been on this user-provided IT pitch for a while now-the research firm equates the company laptop to the company car in the 1970s-and the prediction hasn't exactly become the norm. However, the move to let employees bring their own gear increasingly makes sense. Why? Employees are already bringing what they want to work anyway. Exhibit A: The iPhone. Exhibit B: Google. Exhibit C: Facebook. You get the idea."

Larry Dignan - How Did IT Fall..., Tech Republic October 2009

This notion -to simply let users make their own consumerized choices as a cure to the "crotchety" world of IT- misses the core of the problem; that is, the lack of the necessary network automation, integration and real-time visibility. IT won't keep up unless the culture of manual labor, scripts and spreadsheets changes.

Virtualization brought flexibility to within the VLAN, but for the most it stays confined there thanks to the messy collision between static networks and dynamic systems and increasingly dense VLANs.

In some environments it costs almost as much to move a server than it does to buy a new one.  That was one of the drivers of virtualization-lite, immediate capex reduction by allowing systems teams to manage, move spin up, etc new servers in minutes.

Yet virtualization only postponed the reckoning by enabling admins to manage more server pool within VLANs.  The old world challenges still wait at the border of the VLAN.

Rather than merely accepting the consumerization of enterprise IT or the "eventuality" of public clouds, why not focus much needed attention back at the network, which was once and should perhaps again be the driving force for IT and business innovation?

More Stories By Greg Ness

Greg Ness is a Silicon Valley marketing veteran with background in networking, security, virtualization and cloud computing. He is VP Marketing at CloudVelocity. Formerly at Vantage Data Centers, Infoblox, Blue Lane Technologies, Juniper Networks, Redline Networks, McAfee, IntruVerofficer at Networks and ShoreTel. He is one of the world's top cloud bloggers.