Top CIO Trends for 2011

Early each year we post a “Top Ten” list of critical technologies or trends on the minds of CIOs.  For this post, we leverage Gartner survey results done late in 2010, as a starting point.  Last month, Gartner delineated its top 10 technologies for 2011 that will give technology execs the most bang for their buck. In this list, there are items that we’d expect to see on a 2011 Top Ten list, some that are a surprise, and some notable omissions.

Let’s get right to it:

PUE Hype and Setting Realistic Expectations

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is a metric created by The Green Grid to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE is a ratio, with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases toward unity.  In other words, PUE measures the extra power needed to power, cool, protect, and manage the IT load in a data center.

Since the issuance of PUE, many data center managers are under pressure to drive the PUE of their facility lower.  The notion of driving energy efficiency is a noble one, but the drive toward a PUE target is not a pragmatic endeavor.

PUE should be viewed as a tool, not a destination.  While the PUE is based upon very simple math, PUE comparisons are very difficult.  In fact, it’s dangerous to compare PUE values between data centers because so much depends upon where (with respect to the facility infrastructure) PUE readings are taken, as well as which data center energy components are included in the scoring.  There are simply too many variations from facility to facility and from operator to operator to know if one has a true “apples to apples” comparison.

Modularity and Emerging Trends in Data Center Design

TrendData Center Dynamics is always a great reading on the pulse of the industry, and the December, 2010 conference in Richardson Texas set the sounding board for contemporary developments in modularity and efficiency in data centers.  The following are thoughts and reflections on the discussions held during the conference.

Data Center Design:  From Traditional to the Future

The shift in computing paradigms over the past fifty years has, to some extent, followed generational timelines.  Early in the computing evolutionary timeline, computing and storage existed in a centralized in a consolidated data processing footprint, optimized for efficiency driven by high cost of systems.  End users reached their data and application through thin client devices.  The upfront costs for hardware and software were very high.

IT Certifications: Is there a Role for the State?

This morning I was reading a short piece by Gary Beach, Publisher Emeritus of CIO Magazine in which he asks if he’s “certifiably nuts” for encouraging broad-based, state-administered technology certification programs.  The short answer from me- no, not really.   I would though, like to support the spirit of Gary’s call with my own encouragement.

Data Center Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, LocationI’ve just returned from a meeting in Washington, DC in which we were assessing training material for certification on the new BICSI data center design best practices.   Along with the fact that I’ve been approached lately with a number of site security assessment requests, it was interesting to review the guidance on data center location.

We have discussed data center location guidelines in this forum before, and with BICSI-002’s alignment with TIA-942, the contribution has been to bring guidance into a contemporary framework.  We bring this up again because while such guidance for mission critical facility location with respect to environmental and human threats has been on the shelf for a long time, chances are very good that your data center is not in good standing with respect to these location guidelines.

For the record, we’ll run through the general list of property adjacencies that contribute risk to the site, in concentric fashion beginning with the closest proximity to the site.

Reflections on “The Cathedral and The Bazaar”

A very dear friend of mine, Vaughan Merlyn, recently suggested that I re-read Eric Raymond‘s book, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.”  It’s been a while since I’ve picked this up and frankly I’d forgotten much of it.

The very first time I read “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” I was working for a company in the open-source software space.  At that time, many years ago now, I was relocating my desk from the Cathedral into the Bazaar, and the book offered me valuable cultural perspective.  At this writing, nearly 10 years later, the whole open-source versus closed-source dialogue is in quite a different place and it almost feels as awkward to reflect upon open-source development as some sort of alternative to mainstream as it does to think about whether my car is American, Japanese, Korean, German, or Mexican (it’s a bit of all those and it’s just the way it is these days).

My most recent reading of this book though gives me a completely different serving of brain food, for which I’m grateful to Mr. Raymond.  I’d like to share a couple of those points with you here.

VM and IT Services

Our regular readers will understand that we do not routinely report on vendor-specific industry events, but because of the increasing presence of virtualization as a foundational component in enterprise IT architecture, this week’s VMWorld in San Francisco is hard to ignore.

In a press release, VMware revealed a roadmap that is focused on IT services in support of Business. ¬†As expected, there is a lot of focus on the Cloud in this strategy. ¬†Earlier posts in this forum highlight how foundational the Cloud has become in enterprise IT roadmaps. ¬†What is more interesting in this announcement is the focus on IT as a service. ¬†In this post, we are focusing only on the content of VMware’s press release because of its statements about product strategy. ¬†It is recognized that additional color and content apply from the conference more broadly.

McAfee Inside?

Undoubtedly you’ve heard by now that Intel has a bid on the table to buy McAfee (for $7.7B). ¬†We’ve written before about the collaboration that’s been going on between the two companies for almost two years now, which we suspect is a leveraging of features at both ends of the stack to improve security of data processing devices. ¬†Indeed the two companies share a vision of combined secure hardware and software to protect the full spectrum of Internet connected devices.

So what does this mean for us chickens? ¬†Well, there’s quite a variety of opinion in the industry so far. ¬†The official company line(s) are of course that this will lead to technology that improves security for network connected devices of all types (something we certainly can benefit from), and of course that there is a great opportunity for more sales of security software if every new CPU is seen as an opportunity for that. ¬†However, there is a good bit of open endedness around this. ¬†We’ll at least give you our opinions.