Redefining IT confidence: 3 steps to transformation

By Srihari Gopinath, Head of Marketing, Enterprise Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise India

It would be interesting to ask a large group of both Fortune 500 and smaller companies if their teams have “IT confidence.” Or, if they’ve achieved IT transformation, how would they define it, and how was it achieved? Chances are, for those who claim to have such confidence in their systems, there’s at least some degree of overarching, automatic management, monitoring, and interfacing that has freed up IT administrators to focus on more specific challenges, creating a more stable, progressive environment.

It’s no secret that most IT administrators spend their days putting out proverbial fires and ensuring that the basic infrastructure remains up and running with minimal interference. This has been the nature of IT administration since systems became the guiding force of many organizations, and although many admins wish their infrastructure management meant more creative problem-solving and less “firefighting,” a lack of time and mission means this trend will continue if left unchecked.

In order to rebuild IT confidence in business systems, we believe that IT teams need to possess some degree of overarching, automatic management, monitoring, and interfacing that has freed up IT administrators to focus on more specific challenges, creating a more stable, progressive environment.

Here are three steps to get started on transformation and rebuilding confidence in your IT today.

#1  Survey the data center

There’s a solution to this vicious cycle that prevents IT transformation, however, and once implemented, an IT organization that has spent so much time just keeping systems running can focus instead on making systems run better. This leads to greater IT confidence up and down the stack, from the bare metal hardware, to the cloud-based leaps for applications that straddle or reside in the cloud, and the developer tools and application hubs.

It comes in the form of automation, and while it’s not exactly simple to get to the point of full-stack automation, the results are quite incredible. It just takes making the tough initial leap of surveying the data center landscape to gauge the extent of silos and developing a solid plan of action. Finally, you’ll need the middleware tooling to enable automation of everything from network management to system monitoring, workload optimization, and far beyond.

But this is oversimplifying the issue, since such assessments just to prepare for large-scale automation can take weeks or months. It’s also difficult to form generalized guidance for this part of the process, since every organization has evolved its data ingestion, storage, and computing infrastructure around how the larger enterprise functions.

Still, following this assessment, take a look at where IT teams are spending most of their time firefighting.

#2 Do a full-stack evaluation

An internal evaluation might reveal that hardware systems maintenance, monitoring, and operation are massive time hogs, stealing away valuable system administrators who might otherwise be tuning infrastructure, researching upgrades, working with your preferred technology partner to expand services, or working on other innovative projects.

Armed with these insights, teams might look to tie-in a system automation tool that can also serve as a workload manager, resource manager, and workload optimizer that has deep hooks in the hardware capabilities.

Taking a full-stack view of the IT environment by starting with the biggest time-drain for IT teams is an excellent first step—one where your technology partner can support different hardware and software frameworks, and offer options that are a fit for overall data center requirements.

#3 Get started with DevOps

As another example, suppose that the developer teams are the bottleneck due to inefficiencies in the data center. Following an assessment that reveals this as the grounding point for smoother IT operations, IT teams should start with a DevOps mindset and work backwards toward the systems themselves. Along the way, it’s likely that teams will find that automation tools to enable developer productivity also have hooks in the efficiency and monitoring of the hardware systems. The IT team can then work towards tuning the automation framework for developers (versus hardware).

Finally, consider that IT confidence generally means having accountability and a single place where teams can go to understand what problems exist and where their resources are best utilized for higher value projects. The goal is to redefine “IT confidence”: It’s not about having confidence that “things will just work,” it’s about having confidence that IT will perform and free up IT teams to do spectacular things that build even greater, farther-reaching confidence. This is true IT transformation.

Hewlett Packard EnterpriseSrihari Gopinath
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