To keep an IT environment economically sound it must be adapted over and again to meet new requirements and put newly available technologies to use.
Designing an environment properly already takes this into consideration and allows for frequent adjustments and updates with minimal effort.
From Analysis to Stragegy
As an unbiased outsider I provide my customers with a survey of their existing environments and an inventory of their current and forseeable future requirements.
In a second step I compare the two to derive immediately desirable changes.
Similar to a risk matrix used in risk management I next devise a list of forseeable changes, preparatory measures to mitigate their impact, measurable indicators that help to notice these changes early on, and countermeasures to use when the indicators show that the change becomes necessary.
With environments that are being built from scratch this approach has also proven useful; only the inventory of the existing environment and the experiences gathered from it are missing in this particular case.
The Three Fundamental Parameters
The economic soundness of an IT environment largely depends on three fundamental parameters: efficiency during reglar operations, reliability in the risk management sense and longevity with regard to its economic productivity.
Growth and IT Infrastructure
In well designed but growing IT environments it is an all too common phenomenon that the infrastructure keeps lagging behind the rest of the environment.
In the environments I have seen, typical indicators for this phenomenon are a data backup system that is operating at its limit, insufficient monitoring, undersized air conditioning and backup power systems and an overloaded network.
IT Architecture and Organization
IT architecture and operations organization are commonly considered largely independent due to the corporate structure.
While this separation seems quite be quite natural, it doesn't take into account that an environment won't be economically sound unless both are finely tuned to match each other.
In the past I have held talks on assessment methodology, scalability and reliability. For some of them I have written proper manuscripts which are online available.
After the Boom: A Health Check for IT Systems.
(GUUG Frühjahrsfachgespräch, 2003)
Building Large IT Systems.
(sage@GUUG Frankfurt, 2002)
Zuverlässigkeit vor, hinter, unter und über dem Cluster.
(GUUG Uptimes, 2005)
I currently think about writing another book, addressing IT architecture, operations organization and the relationship between them.