Many companies are now testing software defined networks and storage, in small beta environments and production environments, though not across the board.
"They're training their staff, they're testing out different vendor offerings, getting comfortable with it - it's an evolutionary thing, not a revolutionary thing."
5. Integrated systems
Integrated systems are not overly new, in fact in most IT shops they took off five or six years ago when Cisco released UCS, followed by Converged Infrastructure from HP. Since then there have been many variations on the theme, however we can expect more change to come, both from providers and internal systems.
"Vendors were looking at this and wondering, what if we offered not a single component or device to do one thing but a composite of things, and we adopt a managed toolset to run these things," says Cappuccio.
Historically, with servers or storage, individuals within those stacks would analyse the vendors and the products, while looking for best of breed, all component level analysis.
"With an integrated system, that doesn't happen as much," says Cappuccio. "You're analysing now at the vendor offering level, who's underneath it. Can you trust this vendor to manage the environment for you and will they grow with it, what's their product plan?"
Because these systems contain many other elements in one, devices became more expensive, moving the decision point away from IT folks, up the food chain to the a c-level decision makers.
"The analysis may take longer for each device purchase but once the decision is made, it's a long-term decision," says Cappuccio. "Once you install a couple of systems and they begin to work as advertised, or even close to it, when it's time to grow that environment, I'm not going to do the analysis again, I picked my vendor."
This higher-level analysis means companies will evolve from the best of breed' to the best of brand'. Gartner has categorised several classes of integrated systems as integrated stack systems (ISS), integrated infrastructure systems (IIS), integrated reference architectures, and fabric-based computing (FBC).
"There's a stack sale versus a component sale battle going on with vendors, and it's up to you to decide - do I need to analyse things at the component level or is it easier to do things at a system level?" says Cappuccio.
"IT teams should optimise these systems for single purposes, in any case. We're starting to see these systems come out for specific use cases. You might have one level of analytics, one type of database or one type of application you want to run at an extremely large scale.
"Integrated systems can be used for single purpose tasks, rather than building your own general purpose system. It requires a lot of power and protocols, a lot of common tools, but we're not there yet."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.