IT is a Lot Like Life

Posted on May 20, 2016

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I was participating in a conference call the other day with two executives from INTEL.  The subject was about software defining the datacenter or SDDC.  INTEL prefers to call it, software defined infrastructure or SDI.  However you choose to define it, it is certainly the next step in the in the natural evolution process of the datacenter.  In fact, Gartner states that SDDC is crucial to the long-term evolution of an agile digital business.  We are faced with a globally hyper-competitive business climate today in which both product cycles and the time to value are exponentially diminishing.  Add to that the constant threat of a new disruptor on the scale of Uber or AirBnB suddenly encroaching on the market share of established businesses and we can understand why organizations today must become as elastic and flexible as possible.  Hardware is rigid and inflexible.  Software is fluid adaptable.  As I heard an analyst on CNBC say during a conversation about the growth potential of Amazon Web Services, “nearly every company one day will be in the app business.”  As the Wall Street Journal stated several years ago, “software is eating the world.”

But there is another motivation for SDDC, one not of hardware, but of self-actualization.  IT professionals want to matter!   We are tired of performing the daily rituals of maintenance and support such as updating firmware, addressing connectivity issues and answering endless helpdesk calls.  One of the key purposes of SDDC is to liberate the IT staff from all of these mundane non-value added tasks and allow us to focus on undertaking to create innovative and creative solutions that will take our respected organizations to the next level.  IT, it is hoped, will no longer be looked at as an expense, but as a source of profitability and meaning.

During our conference call, INTEL spoke about the modernization of the datacenter and how this modernization process is a journey, a journey that has no endpoint.  Think about that statement for a minute.  We started with the basic peer-to-peer network.  Then we centralized our resources, then we virtualized them.  Next we automated them and sub sequentially pooled them together.  Today we are going about delivering resources as a service along with policy based deployment.  And the truth is that SDDC will only be a temporary stopping point.  There will be another technological breakthrough that will induce a new philosophy….. and so the journey will never end.

Just like life, it’s a journey too.  It is one in which we constantly strive to be better, better in our careers, our relationships, our golf game, you name it.  At some point in life we hopefully learn that being hard headed and unbending doesn’t get us as far in life as if we strive to be adaptable to new ideas and flexible enough to accommodate the needs of others in our lives.   Elasticity is a good trait to have when you are human. 

We also want to matter.  We want life to be about more than just working 9-5, getting the kids to bed and pressure washing the deck.  Although it’s fun to finally update our kitchen to stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, we know that those too will go out of style eventually, at which point we must motivate ourselves to do it all over again.  What matters more is not creating the dream kitchen, but creating lasting value in our lives, memories that will endure forever, cementing our legacy. 

Twenty years ago we would have never conceptualized the concept of software defined networking or software defined storage.  Twenty years ago I would have never imagined I would in the IT field, or writing professionally for a variety of companies, or having authored books for global distribution.  Just as we can’t imagine what new innovations technology will bring about in the coming years, we have no clue what challenges and opportunities life will introduce to us as well.  Like IT, life is a journey.  Make the most of it. 

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