IT Management

For 2010 and beyond, some technology trends will be familiar ones. Some trends will be the same as they were in 2009, 2008, 2007 … 2004. Well, you get the picture; however, some technologies also will be renamed or repackaged!

Something that won’t change in the foreseeable future is the fact there’s still no such thing as an information or data recession! The opposite is true, and the result is more data to process, move, and store for longer periods of time in different locations. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more will have to be done with less or within available IT resource constraints.

There’s a realization or re-awakening that efficiency and optimization also apply to boosting productivity via performance, response time, or other Quality of Service (QoS) improvements. This means doing more work in a smaller, denser footprint that can result in a lower cost per IT resource unit to service delivered. In other words, efficiency can be measured in the amount of work that can be done per watt of energy in a smaller footprint per cost.

Watch for more discussions around situational awareness and insight of IT resources, including systems or Storage Resource Analysis (SRA) tools with event correlation capabilities. The importance of these tools is to either remove growing complexities associated with highly virtualized environments and their various inter-dependencies or to facilitate automation of common Infrastructure Resource Management (IRM) tasks.

In addition to common IRM tasks, including data protection (backup/recovery and disaster recovery, archiving, and security), along with performance and capacity planning, configuration, change management and others, there’s also need for End-to-End (E2E) cross-technology management. What E2E means is tools that can correlate and help analyze and report about events, activity, usage, and configuration across servers, storage, networks, hardware, software, and even facilities.

On the storage front, Solid State Devices (SSDs) using flash and RAM along with Phase Change Memory (PCM) will continue to evolve as will traditional disk drives and tape. Watch for faster Fibre Channel (FC) and Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives with increased capacity, energy efficiency, and even larger capacity, low-cost disk drives.

Another emerging enterprise class storage trend is automated relocation or movement across different tiers (e.g., SSD, fast FC or SAS disks, or high-capacity Serial ATA [SATA] devices). This enables cost-effective optimization for performance, availability, capacity, and energy. Also watch for archiving to reappear, potentially finally breaking free from having been held captive by compliance for the past decade. After all, archiving of structured and unstructured data was around decades before being taken captive by compliance and is a time-tested technique for boosting efficiency, productivity, performance, and capacity.

On the I/O and networking front, 8Gb Fibre Channel (8GFC), supporting both FCP (aka open systems) and FICON, are just over the horizon with 16GFC while FC over Ethernet (FCoE aka CEE or DCE) also continues its maturity and evolution process for mid- to high-end environments. Not to be confused with virtual server virtualized adapters, you also will be hearing more about I/O Virtualization (IOV), particularly PCIe Single Root (SR) and Multi-Root (MR) IOV for sharing SAS, SATA, FC, FCoE, Ethernet, or other adapter cards across physically separate servers.

Additional trends and topics to keep an eye on include IT resource federation and federated management, which adds to the confusion of what is a cluster, grid, cloud, or virtualized or single pane of glass (physical or virtual). Green IT shifts from carbon and energy avoidance to energy efficiency—boosting performance and productivity—including leveraging intelligent power management. Virtualization transitions to the next big wave—expanded awareness beyond consolidation to enable agility, flexibility, or ease of management for those resources that require performance or other QoS special needs.

The bottom line for 2010 is that you should look for ways for your site to become more efficient and effective; this might mean doing more with less or using what you already have. However, no matter how you approach it, boosting productivity will help your business remain competitive.