Happy New Year! … Now get busy.

2007 is here(!) and hopefully the 007 part indicates a year full of amazing new tech toys.

The rumours of the iPod Phone are everywhere, the Playstation 3 is looming, Windows Vista and Apple’s Leopard as set to challenge each other for the desktop among many things we have to look forward to in 2007.

2007 is the Chinese year of the Pig, but will 2007 be the IT year of SOA or the CMDB, or will it be the year of Virtualisation? Virtualisation is less tangible (no joke) but its effects will be dramatically felt.

Probably the CMDB needs to come first. It is astonishing how often I hear about organisations that do not know their environment to the level of detail that configuration management denotes.

Standards must have benefits
Standardisation is the precursor to both of these in my opinion. With a clearly set out schedule of standards, the IT organisation can move forward in the knowledge that it will converge on a set of chosen technologies.

Standardisation will unlock the benefits of virtualisation. Standardisation implies a finite set of technologies which can be tested and deployed in well-known environments. Once a specific technology has been tested and a “best” configuration has been determined for a given environment, the process of deploying a new instance of that technology should be dramatically cut-down from the process used to deploy and test a new technology – (otherwise why make it a standard?)

Now Add Virtualisation

Once something is a standard and is deployable using a subset of the usual lengthy deployment process we have an opportunity to virtualise it – make it so easy to deploy that you can create and destroy instances of it on-the-fly. Go one step further and give projects the means to create and destroy instances themselves, from a menu of tested options and well defined variables. I take it for granted that if you were to do this, that the instance created would automatically register itself with your CMDB and notify the Change management process of its existence etc – all the required processes would be followed, but AUTOMATICALLY.

It an environment like this we have derived REAL benfit from Standardisation and Virtualisation.

What about the CMDB?

Yet again the CMDB seems to be implied without being too explicitly mentioned. The fact of the matter is that if you allow on-the-fly virtual deployments of standard solutions, then you will quickly lose track of them and be on a wide and swift road to capacity management hell, UNLESS you have a solid grasp on your configuration situation. This is the key that allows IT to manage the chaos that the users have been empowered to create. Don’t even try to do on-the-fly virtual deployments without a CMDB. What is more, on the journey to standardisation, the CMDB will be your yard-stick to measure progress towards standardisation.

“But a CMDB is such a huge and complex project,” I hear you say.”We’ll never finish,” you complain. You can’t start yesterday so my counsel is that you had better start doing config management today. The longer you delay, the less likely you are to survive as an IT organisation in a virtualised future; And I have very little doubt the future will be virtualised.

So welcome to 2007. Now get busy.

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