Orlando is steaming, and Gartner's newest IT Summit hasn't been far behind. This is Gartner's first summit of its type, with reasonable attendance (~800) and a great line-up of talks and break-out sessions. Monday was also where Cassatt announced its partnership with BladeLogic.
The event opened with a keynotes from Mike Chuba and Cameron Haight, followed by a great forward-looking talk on the future of infrastructure and operations from Tom Bittman. He clearly sees the period between 2008-2012 as a shift from "Silos" to shared IT "Pools" - as virtualization itself shifts from consolidation to higher-value to the data center. He further predicted that starting around 2010, true Real Time Infrastructure will become mainstream (see the picture). This will be the enabler as IT-as-a-utility.
But he was careful to define growing distinctions between types of virtualization: At the Application level, there are containers, zones, LPARs, VPARS;At the O/S level, we're seeing a number mainstream VM technologies, including SW appliances; and, at the Hardware layer, we are seeing Grid and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (i.e. Amazon EC2).
Perhaps the most entertaining 'guest' keynote was from Peter Cochrane - ex-CIO for BT, and now a highly-regarded consultant. Brilliant, wry and witty, he opened by positing that IT's reality is having to deal with heterogeneity, mobility and increasing availability of bandwidth. With that bandwidth, (which will be exploited via increasing penetration of fiber, frequency-hopping and spatial distribution) the notions of connectivity to the "cloud" will be pervasive. And, the concepts of "connectivity" and "communication" will begin to shift to concepts of "location" and "presence". The other theme he put forward was one of release of control/centralization. He began with the fact that central control of broadcast bandwidth was shifting from a few thousand outlets (broadcast TV, radio, etc.) to billions of sources (phones, pervasive wifi, transmission "hopping", etc.) Release of control was also shifting from creativity in the office to creativity at home... very web 2.0 -- Oh, and he reitterated that the best definition of web 2.o was put forth by Tim O'Reilly a number of years ago (one of my favorite pieces).
One of the most well-attended break-out sessions on day 1 was run by Ed Holub & Debra Curtis, "Running IT Like a Business" - putting forth that IT has to think of itself not as a cost center, but as a business unit with customer management, product management, marketing, financial controls and... yes... pricing. This of course requires that IT figure out how to identify costs and provide charge-back. And finally, it requires that IT be comfortable with losing business to competitors, i.e. outsourcers. More than ever, running IT-as-a-Utility to achieve efficiencies seems more needed than ever here.
Another series of sessions dealt with Data Center Power Management. It was clear that the current way of running data center was essentially going to run out of electrical capacity in the future - so talk was not only about server efficiency, but cooling efficiency, and prudent facilities design as well. One particularly interesting breakout session, hosted by Will Cappelli, "The Convergence of Operations and Energy Management". The observations here were huge: companies w/large data centers will come face-to-face with international & domestic carbon emissions regulations; IT and Facilities orgs will be required to work together to increase overall energy efficiency; IT energy & power consumption will have to be managed and intelligently optimized (on this, see my previous blog on turning off idled servers).
Clearly, there were tons of other content regarding IT Operations management, Process (i.e. ITIL), discussion around CMDBs, virtualization and more. Way too much to summarize. But stay-tuned as I may comment on some of these from time-to-time :)