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I’m very excited for the next episode of Scality Conversations. Our guest will be Mark Thiele of SuperNAP, a longtime thought leader in the infrastructure, cloud and hosting spaces. Our discussion will focus on the changing world of IT infrastructure.

Things are very different from five years ago, or even two years ago. The assumptions you previously made and the rules of thumb you used to, or even currently refer to may no longer be valid. We figured that Mark, having been around the block a few times, would be a great guest to shed some light on the matter. Mark has written some great articles on this topic in the past, and I’ll highlight a few in this post.

Starting with the basics, Mark wrote “I bought the fastest server, so why is my app slow?” almost two years ago. I particularly like some of Mark’s non-standard criteria for IT choices:

  • How much value do we get out of the solution at 80 percent of total feature set?
  • What other capabilities does this solution open the door to in the future?
  • What organizational support (business and IT) do I have for the long term “ownership” needs (staff, training, champions, budget, lifecycle, etc.)?
  • How does this solution position my team to execute against larger IT and business visions?
  • Does this solution leverage other partners and technologies already in use?
  • What’s the time to install vs. cost to purchase or time to benefit? (In other words, will I get 30 percent net new benefit value in year one vs. nothing in year one and two, but 80 percent in year three from another solution?)
  • Ownership risk assumptions (what assumptions are you making at the front end of any solution selection and are those assumptions still accurate? With modern cloud/SaaS etc., you might not have the ownership risk you “enjoyed” with many legacy platforms)

In summary, don’t be overly simplistic in evaluating IT. And, don’t rely purely on the more superficial measures like price and performance – take an eye towards business impact today and tomorrow. Balance between the practical and the potential. My take: this can also help to avoid outdated assumptions.

The Cloud is a classic area of outdated assumptions, because advances are so quick that what you knew yesterday could be completely wrong today. People again use overly broad criteria like performance, security, location, and cost to assess Cloud solutions, when they should be focusing on the specific problems it can solve. As Mark says, “The reality of IT is that we all too often make decisions based on assumptions we’ve learned through osmosis over the years.”

Finally – the fact that particular IT choices may be “difficult” is probably a good thing. By nature, major benefits often come from revolutions, not evolutions. They may mean changes in architecture, “ownership,” workflow, processes, and job functions – people-related things that are often more challenging than switching technologies. It may be painful to consider such changes, but the business opportunities that exist today demand it.

Join us on February 26th at 10am PST to keep the conversation going. We would love to hear how you are thinking about the huge technology changes around us, and your plan to address them moving forward.

Photo credit: SuperNAP, Inc.

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