Silo Wars: The Reality of the Modern Data Center

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu

Users rarely consider enabling technologies until something goes wrong. Well-engineered technology, whether a bridge over the Potomac or a cluster of dynamically-provisioned servers, should be invisible when performing optimally. Put another way, for those it supports, your infrastructure should neither be seen nor heard. This creates a fundamental disconnect between the tacticians focused on maintaining the specific technologies they find themselves responsible for, and the strategists responsible for the performance of the infrastructure as a whole, and the mission-critical services such as CRM, ERP, and email that they underlie.

While those who find themselves elbow-deep in the datacenter may know their racks down to the cable, at the C-level and the user level, what matters is how well the service they’re providing performs. This disconnect between the real-world realities of a chassis in a rack, the SAN it’s wired into, the network delivering it up – and the abstraction of the one or many services it provides sometimes creates conflict both within the data center and all the way up to the corner office.  It’s a challenge many technical managers are familiar with – the need for an approach to real-world problems that blends the tactical realities of a humming data center with the strategy required to innovate.

So how can a savvy technical manager reconcile these two worlds? [Read more…]