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A trend impacting Data Centers – “Consumerization of IT”

In my previous blog, I had written about the use of mobile applications in the data center.  Since then, I understand there is a new application for monitoring Cisco UCS on the Blackberry Playbook .  Is this a trend?  Is this a trend towards mobility or is it a trend towards consumerization of the work place?  Yet another term I have heard is “Prosumerization” of the Enterprise.  No matter which term is used by authors, the underlying shift is towards a simpler, user friendly approach to getting work done.  If that means using smart phones, then so be it.  Unlike my generation of workers, willing to put up with circuitous and acrobatic maneuvers to get things done, the younger generation is used to simpler interfaces and they are demanding the same from enterprise systems.

My one and a half year old niece who has grown accustomed to using iPhone Facetime to chat with my kids grimaced and acted surprised when she heard my daughter on the phone and did not see her face on a screen. I vividly recall having to wait patiently for hours to receive a subscriber trunk dialing call in order to talk to my parents when I was in college. The point is that we now have relatively sophisticated networks and tools, and user expectations are very high.  Enterprise users expect their tools to just work, like cars and smart phones (have you read the iPhone manual?). There is also an expectation that the network is always on and can stream high resolution video.

Do you use your personal phone to access your work email?  The line between work and home has blurred for most of us.  Thanks to the network, we work from our home offices and with colleagues half way round the world at odd times of the day. No wonder we like to use the same tools and gadgets we are familiar with.

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The Broadband Consumer Dilemma

I’m writing this en route back to Austin, flying at over 500 miles per hour at an altitude of 35,000 feet. And I’m really frustrated that the in-flight internet isn’t working.

It is truly absurd.

Not that it’s not working but that I “expect” to maintain constant connectivity while being in a flying can more than 6 miles up in the sky.

But I do.

I’m not proud of it…and even wince a bit because I recall a comedian who in a skit made fun of reactions like this…of people like me. [Editor’s note:  here’s a video clip of Louis C.K.’s comedy clip that Doug references.]

The challenge for providers is that I believe there are a lot of people like me.  Our level of expectation is pretty outrageous and only getting higher.  In a stadium with 100,000 other smartphone carrying people, the air is filled with complaints about mobile connectivity, with the complainers not giving thought to the fact that they are in the midst of effectively 1/7th the population of my city packed into a single square block and seemingly all of them are tweeting, foursquaring, or facebooking about that last great play (which, for the Longhorns, was last year, btw).  Trying to download a video around 9pm - the start of the Internet’s prime time as we covered last week -- we complain about how “slow” the internet is, not giving any thought to the fact that the rest of the neighborhood is downloading a high-def movie too, or playing Halo, or having a video call.

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