Modernization Tips for IT Infrastructure Managers
As I travel the world talking to customers in all industries, the most common title I meet with on the IT side of the business are infrastructure managers. These professionals are concerned with planning ways for IT to support business growth, while also ensuring that business runs smoothly on the corporate systems in place today.
In the IBM i space, some of the most common discussions I hear center around the following:
- When is the right time to upgrade my server technology?
- Do I need storage area networks (SAN) to help me manage our data growth?
- Are virtual tape libraries (VTL) the best way for my business to do backups?
- Should I manage my systems on premise, in the cloud, or a hybrid of both?
In our 2017 IBM i Marketplace Survey, 56 percent of respondents reported that they had a POWER7 server in their data center and 40 percent said they had a POWER8 model. The number of organizations using SAN increased by 4 percent from the previous year’s survey, and 7 percent reported using disk-to-disk or VTL technology for backups.
Remember that hardware considerations are high visibility, just like the end user’s interface. Keeping up with current hardware and incorporating newer technologies is not something that is done for the sake of modernization only. A new server, SAN, or VTL investment delivers better performance, eases, virtualization, and create more efficient backups, respectively. And your whole organization benefits.
Processes underscore all implementations and operations in IT. Modern organizations must consider automation, agile development, and controls to help guide the implementation of their hardware technologies, since each new addition creates new processes to incorporate into the existing ones.
Not only should you automate your intangible processes and operations, but you should apply the principles of automation as you implement your tangible modern infrastructure, including management by exception, automation at the source, granular rules, and notification.
Apply concepts from agile development to your modern infrastructure implementations. Roll them out in bite-sized chunks. Divvy out manageable tasks to team members. Assign levels of confidence to each task for sizing deliverable times and effort. Short scrums around technology changes can replace longer change control or firefighting meetings. Implement small, testable changes and you will accomplish more and deliver quick wins to your management team.
As you modernize your infrastructure, you want to maintain a trail of changes and provide your reasoning for these changes should your organization ask for them. Controls are important, but don’t allow them to block progress. Keep controls light. If they start to impede your progress, reevaluate the tools and processes that you are using.
Still worried about that user interface? Check with your supplier before you spend too much time and energy on it. The modern expectation is that they should be able to provide a graphical, browser-based, or mobile-friendly interface to manage their products, which will also help you modernize your view of your systems.
A modern IBM i infrastructure needs the streamlined processes, sophisticated software, and supporting hardware to match. Watch this webinar for more quick wins to move your IBM i modernization project forward.