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Smart Enterprise: Greater Expectations

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sk CIOs for a data center wish list, and many will answer, "greater speed and agility in both provision- ing and managing the IT infrastructure." To achieve those goals, CIOs have looked to standardization and automation as ways to lower costs, improve predictability and ease the delivery of business services. But today, after years of reaping the benefits of open systems, commodity hardware and the Web, enterprises face an even greater variety of IT infrastructures to choose from and administer. These include physical and virtualized servers, computing services hosted in private and public computing clouds, virtual machines running inside mainframes, and everything from complete IT stacks to application software to full- blown business processes delivered in the form of services. "We're in the middle of a major transi- tion," says Albert Lee, Lead Analyst in the System Management Practice at Enterprise Management Associates, an IT research firm in Boulder, Colo. "Infrastructure is becoming much more dynamic, and there is so much more complexity being added to what already existed in the physical data center. CIOs are wondering, 'How do we make all this work?'" Fortunately, the robust IT management tool kit that enterprises have relied on is now rapidly being adapted to meet the demands of virtualized and cloud-based infrastructures. For example, there are tools available today that ensure service levels across practically any combination of physi- cal, virtual and cloud-based environments. Yet there's no denying that with so many options becoming available, IT's corporate function is being forced to change, with consequences for everyone. In the past, the IT department's main job was to acquire, install, program and operate computers for Cloud computing, virtualization and a renewed interest in the mainframe are changing the way data centers are run. The changes couldn't come at a better time. | By John W. Verity The Greater Data Center Smart Practices PHOTOGRAPH: THINKSTOCK A 38 SMARTENTERPRISEMAG.COM

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