March 09, 2011, 2:25 PM — One of the odder shifts in IT during the past year (and into the next one) is that IT organizations that never expected to have to deliver the kind of five-nines, 24/7/365 availability and reliability that is the rule giant multinationals, suddenly do.
Skillsets that seemed arcane even on the guru floors at Goldman Sachs or GE or Google are suddenly relevant in IT departments that fit entirely into one or two sections of cube farm at mid-sized companies that tried to save money on their IT budgets and ended up managing apps and servers in cutting-edge data centers they may never have actually seen.
Even most of the people with the skills to justify it might have been embarrassed to describe themselves as IT architects a few years ago, for example.
Now it's the next hot job title, at least for companies that realize it.
For small and mid-sized companies outsourcing part of their IT infrastructure to SAAS providers, cloud-computing companies and co-location companies, and virtualizing much of the rest, being able to understand and visualize all the company's resources is suddenly more important.
So is knowing when something is going to crash, when a security or performance problem is developing, when virtualized servers or apps are failing and how, and what resources are available to accommodate changes in demand for capacity.
The tools and skill for that are a little abstruse, and a lot expensive, though.
Big-company IT service providers such as Virtela are adapting to that demand as well, bringing high-end enterprise IT-management capabilities downmarket by offering customers that are not giant multinationals the tools to manage performance, configuration and availability of the apps they run on public clouds they would otherwise have to log in to individually.
They also launched an application accelerator designed to let customers monitor and boost the performance of apps on Amazon's EC2, Rackspace Cloud and IBM's Cloudburst without ramping up all the systems and skills it would normally take to do that -- which would include custom-coded controls for each of the clouds.
Today it announced a new service with a repair requirement that will appeal mainly to 24/7/365 shops, but a performance monitor and predictive analytic application that could help any company stay ahead of developing problems on systems in many locations and virtual or cloud platforms.