Making IT Manageable

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-02-16 Print this article Print

Making IT Manageable

The virtualization tools of utility computing can prevent the corruption of production environments by preproduction or multiversioned code.

"We can run conflicting versions" of major applications, said Paul Little, configuration manager for the Fidelity Information Services division of Fidelity National Financial Inc., in San Diego, describing his use of application virtualization technology from Softricity Inc. "We were able to eliminate 13 servers that had been set up just to support different versions of our application."

Fidelity is considering moving this technology into operations, enabling side-by-side provisioning of tailored versions of an application to multiple external users on a single, load balanced platform.

But Inkras Roberts is quick to emphasize his belief that the technical capability to share resources through virtualization models is only the start of creating compelling utility offerings. "In my mind, people should not look at it as getting fewer servers to drive down capital expenditure," Roberts said. "They should be looking at a more efficient model that lets them adapt and change far more easily than they do today."

As hardware costs decline, the costs of any hardware management solution must be tightly controlled to preserve overall cost savings. Roberts said this was the reason Inkra spent a lot of time working on the management model. "That was the single biggest thing," he said. "We make hardware, but were a management company. We built a box that could be managed the way people want to manage things."

Inkras focus is network management, embodied in products such as the Inkra Virtual Service Switch, which eWEEK Labs reviewed in November (see That review noted the "reduced number of physical appliances, management interfaces and policy configuration plans" that enterprise IT managers might expect to enjoy from Inkras product and other offerings of this kind.

Indeed, manageability should be top of mind for anyone seeking utility computings benefits. Assuming that hardware driven by Moores Law and software driven by open-source innovation both trend toward being free, the value for which enterprise IT buyers will pay is increasingly going to be in the form of superior manageability.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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