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How the Cloud Can Help or Hinder Convergence

How the Cloud Can Help or Hinder Convergence

In planning your organization’s transition to a private or hybrid cloud architecture, are you setting the right goals for the entire organization?  Will both you and your users benefit?  For the last decade, many organizations’ migration plans for virtualization have been stuck in first gear.  Now, private cloud technology promises to jump-start those plans.  But CIOs aren’t thinking of private cloud as a lifeboat for 2000s technology.  They see ubiquitous access, service reliability, and mobile device access as their main goals.  They may also have in mind the kind of IT department transformation that can have you sprucing up your LinkedIn résumé more quickly than you’d planned.

Convergence was supposed to have been the big driver for IT transformation.  You remember convergence, don’t you?  Takes you back just thinking about it.  A new technology was supposed to radically improve utilization, which in turn would maximize the value of the assets your organization already has.  It was supposed to be the perfect cost reduction campaign, on account of new software that could repurpose existing hardware, as well as revolutionize the data center.

For most businesses, virtualization has already happened.  But convergence hasn’t -- not really.

In a bold move that ran contrary to the typical, pasty optimism exhibited by the rest of the industry, software and services provider CA called this missed opportunity virtual stall: the tendency for organizations to launch their virtualization transformation plans, but get sidetracked along the way by a truckload of new policies and procedures.

“Virtual stall is something that was real.  There were issues with applications architecture and automation, especially, because of the high rates of change and the desire to have a very dynamic data center,” reports Patrick Ancipink, vice president for product marketing at CA, which coined the phrase. 

If yours is one of those organizations that mandates its employees discard their virtual desktops after every workday, or that maintains various shades of gold with respect to the “golden masters” of your virtual machines, you know what Ancipink is talking about.

Over just the last three years, the costs of both local and portable storage have plummeted, while the costs of network storage have pretty much stayed put.  Suddenly, the cost reduction portion of virtualization’s value proposition has been flipped on its ear.  And then the cloud happened.  People started relying on personal storage caches like Dropbox for their critical business documents, and began sharing links to those caches despite the security risks.  It was more convenient, it may have cost less, and it didn’t involve the IT department.

Why bother virtualizing a network, CIOs began asking themselves, when nobody really wants that network anymore?

Scott M. Fulton, III has chronicled the history of computing as it happened, from the unveiling of the Apple III to the undoing of MS-DOS to the rise of the cloud.  Scott was one of the original online managers of the Delphi network (you remember modems, don’t you?), part of the original editorial team of Computer Shopper (you remember paper, don’t you?), the Senior News Editor at Tom’s Hardware and the original TG Daily (you remember... never mind), and for four years served as managing editor of Betanews.  He’s the author of 17 books and over 5,000 articles printed worldwide in multiple languages.  Scott also appears as contributing technology analyst on NTN24’s Ciencia, Salud y Tecnología.  So basically, he has at least one finger in just about every medium, in hopes that maybe one of them will take root and bear fruit.  You never know, something could happen.  His fingers are crossed.  (Which could explain the typing problems.)  While he’s waiting, Scott and his wife Jennifer, herself a best-selling author (where do you think he gets it?), run Ingenus, LLC, an editorial services provider for technology and higher education publishers.  Right now, their daughter is probably on Tumblr telling her friends how Dad keeps finding something new to go wrong with his VCR. You can follow Scott on Twitter at @SMFulton3.

>> More articles by Scott M. Fulton, III