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Order Takeout or Spin Up Servers?

By David Rayner | Jul 26, 2010 | Business, Insights

I had lunch with a local CIO today. This was an ideal event as there were no pending deals on the table, no crisis to mend, no specific “ask” from either party. It was simply lunch to catch up and discuss the ideas of the day. I love these types of meetings because when there is no pressing agenda to cover, the ideas flow. The only thing that might have lubricated the conversation further would have been a nice glass of 12 year old scotch…but we all eventually had to get back to work, so sobriety was a companion in our discussions….for better or worse:)

During our conversation, our lunch guest made the following comment…”it takes me longer to get Chinese takeout now days than it does to spin up a new server.” He elaborated on what made this possible, but the really interesting discussion revolved around what does this mean for business. It was his view, and I completely agree, that it is easy to get caught up in the tactics of virtualization – capital and operational cost savings, data center reclamation, energy savings, etc. Heck, I have written a couple of blog posts that speak to these tactics. He submitted that when we get wrapped around the axle about tactics, it is easy to miss the bigger opportunity with virtualization which is virtual operations. Virtualization can certainly cost justify itself on tactics, but more importantly, it can revolutionize your business operations and redefine what is possible. What if all of your servers and all of your desktops were no longer devices, but rather files – that can be accessed anywhere, anytime on a thin client, tablet device? What could you do with your business processes, worker productivity, customer satisfaction, business continuity? I don’t know the answer for your business specifically, but I can state with 100% certainty that it would make them better, and not just incrementally better, but lots better. 

Virtualization changes everything, it affects everything, and it can improve everything. Interesting conversations discuss how many servers or desktops you can consolidate in your operation and how many kilowatts and RU’s you can save in your data center. Innovative conversations ponder how virtualized servers, desktops, and storage can change the way you do business and set your operations, services, and value propositions well apart from your competitors. As I have posted before, the job of firms like TBL is not to sell you products, but to deliver ideas that have the potential to impact the nature of your operations and your business.

Ten years ago, when I ordered Chinese takeout, I could get it in about 45 minutes. Ten years ago when I wanted a new server, it might take me a month to get it up and running. Today, it still takes 45 minutes for takeout to arrive, but while waiting for my takeout, I can spin up 4 new servers and have them running before I tip the delivery person. How does this change your business? What are your competitors doing with this new technology? What new services could I deliver in this scenario? Virtualization and optimized operations….it’s what’s for dinner.

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