Q&A: Enterprise Strategy Group's Steve Duplessie

Enterprise Strategy Group founder and senior analyst, Steve Duplessie, speaks with Computerworld Australia ahead of his keynote at the Implementing Information Infrastructure Symposium (IIIS).

Enterprise Strategy Group founder and senior analyst, Steve Duplessie, speaks with Computerworld Australia ahead of his keynote at the Implementing Information Infrastructure Symposium (IIIS).

Computerworld Australia: Your presentation will focus on Steve will cover what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s next for the industry. Could you detail which technologies you view as 1) hot, 2) not hot, and 3) what’s next?

While things are subject to change, certainly Flash/SSD is hot, as is caching in general. I plan to look at the realities of where those markets are and what is going to have to happen to light them on fire moving forward. I'll look across the entire landscape to see what technologies/companies are going to be in trouble, and who is in the best position to capitalise.

What do you view as some of the great myths around enterprise infrastructure at the moment?

That we are going to continue to need disk drives in ten years. That tape will actually die (it won't).

In contrast, what are some of the hidden truths?

The economics of storage are going to be turned upside down, enabling a lot of things that were previously considered impossible to occur.

Is cloud as vital to enterprise IT as everyone would have us believe? To what extent can it help deal with big data?

Cloud is cool, but like everything in this business, grossly over-hyped. Mostly, the issues are definitional — Cloud means many things to many people. The bottom line is companies need to be able to provide their users utility-class services. How they do that is up to them. It by default implies that private Cloud functionality will exist. The jury is still out on how the enterprise will adopt public Cloud services.

What will IT departments look like 3-5 years from now?

Great question - IT could be invisible for all we know! But I doubt it, it takes a long time for things to really change in this industry. It will most likely look the exact same, with new acronyms!

How will IT managers and CIOs get their organisations to that vision?

By not accepting that the way we have done things for 40 years is the way we have to continue to do them. IT departments need to be forced out of their comfort zone — by themselves, or by the business leaving them behind.

What’s the one thing that IT departments should be doing with their information assets to enhance their business agility?

The number one thing that our research tells us that impacts organisational change in the new “virtualisation” era is cross functional IT team education and communication. It’s very hard for IT management to provide agile services to the business if those stovepipe functions within IT are not able to be effective amongst themselves. This is a new dynamic. In a pre-virtualisation world it was OK to have stovepipes organisationally — storage didn’t need to talk to the applications people, who didn’t need to talk to the networking people, etc. Today, that simply isn’t true. Cross-training your staff is becoming a mandatory activity if you truly want to be nimble.

How does IT infrastructure need to change to handle the information explosion?

It simply cannot continue to be ‘monolithic’; it has to be ‘liquid’. You can’t simply marry any workload/application to any specific set of hardware any longer. So everything has to ‘scale-out’ seamlessly (be able to add capacity seamlessly), scale up (able to add transactions/users seamlessly), and scale down in cost! You simply can’t be bound by physical limitations.

Is social networking a fad, or can it change the way we do business? If so how does the IT department cope?

It is not a fad. It is how you will market, how you will educate, how your customers will find you, and how you will provide services. It will also end up being a ‘business record’ and have to be treated accordingly when it comes to compliance and governance. It will tax your abilities the same way email did 15 years ago.

What trends do you see in outsourcing of the IT infrastructure? It’s a trend I expect to continue aggressively. Not in total, but as a means to outsource infrastructure/services on lower value, ‘problem’ tactical areas, such as backup, disaster recovery, second tier storage assets, etc. Cloud isn’t ‘all’ hype!

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