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To be frank, I was not necessarily expecting fireworks from the first keynotes of Gartner Data Center 2012. I was pleasantly surprised to find some really thought-provoking commentary. So, here is my "best of" 5000 foot flyby of this mornings keynotes:

 

What will happen to IT in the next 5 years - David Cappuccio

 

David took us on a journey of the massive changes going on in IT. How complexity is growing, and the market is changing more quickly than ever. All this while the End User is driving IT. There is a significant skills gap opening in IT, but there aren't enough qualified people. Big Data will create 1MM+ jobs, but 1/3 will go unfilled. The Hybrid Data Center is the new normal.

 

We are driving the consumerization of IT - We the users. IT can longer dictate what can and cannot be used. David even delved into the fascinating world of wearable technology and smart objects. This is all driving us towards the Internet of Things (Sound like Skynet anyone?). The increased functionality of IT is driving even greater greater complexity. This means that IT organizations needs to embrace new ways of thinking that encourage staff innovation, collective responsibility, collaborations, and out-of-the-box thinking.

 

Bottom line, this world that IT faces is changing incredibly fast, and IT needs to change with it.

 

Want to be like the big boys? Better change how you think - Ray Paquet

 

Ray started the keynote by stating that by 2017 the way the major public cloud architectures do it would be the standard architecture of the enterprise. Ray then proceeding to ask the audience questions about what kind of hardware, storage, and software that those companies. And the audience got most of them wrong. How do the big guys do it? They use low cost, skinless servers with directly attached storage (no major storage vendors need apply). They use open-source software liberally. Bottom line, cheap and good enough is the phrase of the day. They used virtualization much less often than expected, and they architected their applications to be highly-scalable and highly-resilant. And they use DevOps methodology to drive continuous delivery to operations through extensive automation. Big Data is the killer cloud app, resting on a foundation of commodity hardware, and highly scalable architectures.

 

And what does the average enterprise do? Right off the bat - high the best people with the right skills. You need empowered, out-of-box thinkers.

 

 

DevOps and ITIL - The battle royale - Cameron Haight

 

In my favorite keynote of the morning, Cameron starting the talk by giving full warning that some people might be offended. He then proceeded to go from Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap) to the completely non-provocative statement that DevOps = ITIL - crap. I believe that Cameron will be receiving hundreds of very neatly folded and typed hate letters over the coming weeks. In all seriousness, Cameron went on to show how DevOps is a philosophy and methodology based on delivering value to the customer. Based on the lean methodology of Agile Development practices, DevOps relies as much or more on cultural changes than process or tools. IT management needs to "take the garbage off of their employees' desks". Employees want to be self-fulfilled, which means they want Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. This means ridding IT of the command and control model of the past to a collaborative, value-focused organization empowering the creative innovation of individuals. We want 10x teams, not 10x people - which means we need to check our egos at the door. Processes should be about doing the right thing, versus doing the thing right.

 

A lot to think about, right? The complexity and face pace of change that Ray and David described makes the disruptive thinking of DevOps essential to IT's survival as a enabler of customer value, rather than a roadblock to customer-driven change.

 

 

 

So, all in all, the morning gave the audience a lot to think about. Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger of the "Miracle on the Hudson" famed closed the morning by giving a moving description of what real leadership looks like - humble, consistent, and caring. Couldn't imagine a better way to finish a great morning.

 

Looking forward to tomorrow. Signing off.