December 09, 2010, 9:44 PM — It is no secret that many IT teams have been disappointed that their investment in virtualization has improved server utilization but hasn't made much of a dent in improving the timeliness or quality of service delivered to business users. IT staff productivity, as measured by the ratio of admins to servers and VMs, hasn't improved much either.
Among organizations that are designing and implementing cloud solutions, we frequently hear that they are doing so in order to improve IT operational efficiency and economics - even as their data center and application environments become more complex and dynamic. Given how many IT organizations haven't been able to improve IT staff productivity during virtualization roll-outs it is fair to ask what is going to be different with cloud? A recent IDC survey shows that focusing on service delivery may be the secret sauce.
IDC recently completed an in-depth survey that included discussions with 153 North American IT decision makers who are developing and implementing their organization's private cloud strategies. Interestingly, while most IT decision makers tell us that cloud is all about improving IT efficiency and economics, fully 27% of the private cloud planners we polled said they think their organization's ratio of administrators to physical and virtual servers is unlikely to change by 2013. 47% said they expect to be able to double the ratio of admins to physical and virtual servers by 2013 and 25% said they think they can at least triple the ratio.
Looking a little deeper into the data it became clear that while most organizations plan to continue to invest in virtualization management and to ramp up use of automation and self service portals, those organizations that have the highest productivity expectations are also the most committed to managing and delivering end-to-end services -- as opposed to staying fixated on optimizing IT silos.
Specifically, 67% of those expecting to triple IT staff productivity also plan to make use of service management technologies compared to just 45% of those that don't expect any productivity changes. Similarly, 64% of the high expectation group plans to make use of end-to-end performance and availability management tools compared to 48% of the lower expectation group. The high expectation decision makers are also more likely to be planning to invest in consumption based metering tools, automated application configuration discovery and dependency mapping, and service catalogs linked to self service portals.