CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Tech Industry

Commentary: The birth of organic IT

Enabling computer power on demand is one of four major innovations that Forrester believes will launch a revolution in IT efficiency and business agility.

    Commentary: The birth of organic IT
    By Forrester Research
    Special to CNET News.com
    October 23, 2002, 12:30PM PT

    By Frank E. Gillett, Principal Analyst

    Enabling computer power on-demand is a radical change and one of four major innovations that Forrester believes will launch a revolution in IT efficiency and business agility that we call Organic IT.

    The four innovations are these: one, interoperable software integration with Web services; two, adaptive processors that deliver computing utility; three, shared storage through storage virtualization; and four, a unified network built on a redundant array of Internet links (RAIL). As these innovations mature, new management software will emerge that lets companies manage each technology--and the whole stack--such that IT infrastructure is:

    • Shared. Most business applications are hosted on dedicated servers, and storage isn't shared, forcing companies to provision for peak need and leaving the gear at an average utilization of 20 percent or less. Organic IT will allow companies to tap the unused 80 percent by sharing it across applications and slash the need to buy new hardware. Forrester estimates that a company with 400 servers and a 10 percent growth rate in its capacity would spend $2.5 million over five years but only $500,000 with rapid provisioning software.

    • Automated. Sharing is insufficient if companies can't cut the exorbitant cost of configuring and managing gear. These Organic innovations also enable real automated management, so assets like servers and network can be easily and even automatically reconfigured for new business conditions. Standards will emerge, as they have for storage with the Storage Networking Industry Association's Bluefin and EMC's WideSky, which enable heterogeneous management and automation of gear.

    • Simplified. To make Organic IT work, vendors aren't just automating the complexity, they're simplifying the controls and interfaces. This lets companies dramatically increase IT administrator efficiency; for example, Forrester believes that one storage administrator will manage 100 terabytes within three years, instead of 5 terabytes today. And Hewlett-Packard already touts OpenView installations with 1,200 percent return on investment and payback in 97 days. The result? Companies will grow IT capacity without hiring more expensive staff.

    Cutting costs in half
    Forrester's research shows that with Organic IT technologies, a typical large company can cut costs by 50 percent by using cheaper technologies, avoiding gear purchases and canceling new hires. Though hardware makers will be hurt by reduced buying, the smart ones have already launched major initiatives in the Organic IT area: HP's Utility Data Center, IBM's Autonomic Computing and Sun Microsystems' N1.


    Related story
    IT's exercise in utilities
    Slender IT budgets are giving impetus
    to a move toward on-demand computing.


    But companies shouldn't wait for Organic IT to mature--they should start adopting the innovative technologies now for these reasons:

    • Products are compatible with existing gear and available today. A gaggle of start-ups are working on innovations for each layer, such as Blue Titan in Web services, Jareva Technologies for rapid server provisioning, Candera in storage virtualization and netVmg for RAIL. Though Organic IT will be revolutionary when it's mature, today's products can enhance existing IT assets such as packaged applications, networked storage and Internet links.

    • Benefits are immediate. All four innovations deliver immediate reductions in operating costs today. Web services and rapid server provisioning pay back in months, while storage virtualization and RAIL pay back within the second year. Though Organic IT will take years to mature to full potential, these first-generation products work and are delivering benefits to customers today.

    • Better business agility is free. The beauty of Organic IT is that it pays for itself in operating-cost savings, yet it delivers business flexibility that companies would gladly pay for. How? By letting companies rapidly hook up new partners, respond to competitive threats, and jump on new market opportunities without long delays for complex technology reconfiguration.

    © 2002, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change.