While I have avoided a”2009 predictions” post, I will say I think the coming year will be a fun time to be in the infrastructure business. Its been quite a while since infrastructure was cool, but as Geva Perry recently pointed out, infrastructure is sexy again. In a time of flat do declining budgets, sexy is not a bad thing.In fact, I think infrastructure will continue to see targeted spend in the coming year precisely because it has been ignored for so long. Ethernet and IP are remarkably resilient technologies and they can both take a lot of abuse, but there enough concurrent pressures in the data center right now (i.e. operational complexity, scaling, virtualization, power/cooling) that attention is shifting back to infrastructure. As Jon Oltsik recently pointed out”…these core services have been a virtually ignored kludge leading to unplanned downtime, security vulnerabilities, and manual operations…”Gregory Ness lays out why virtualized, dynamic infrastructure, such as Data Center 3.0 will continue to to see targeted investment in a recent post:
Network vendors who continue to focus on static infrastructure”speeds and feeds” and CIOs who embrace a dying status quo of networking manual labor empires will be replaced by more innovative and strategic approaches that embrace automation as much internally (within the network) as they deliver externally (systems and operations). Networking pros will be thusly rewarded for embracing policy tools versus reactionary configuration as ad hoc policy in response to higher rates of change within increasing complex networks.
In the coming year, I think we will see a couple of scenarios play out. The folks that are running out of something (budget, space, people, power, cooling) will move towards dynamic infrastructure out of necessity--its the only sustainable way they can support the needs of their business. The second scenario are the folks that adopt dynamic infrastructure out of choice--they see the fluidity of the infrastructure as an advantage--furthermore the TCO reduction either allows them to invest in other places or return money back to the company--both of which will give companies competitive advantage and turn their CIOs into rock stars.