Reflections: Dwain Kinghorn, Altiris

Virtualization is no longer only delegated to separating the OS from the hardware platform. Virtualization now promises the delivery of business agility while saving costs at the application level, in other words, separating the application from the OS." -- Dwain Kinghorn, chief technology officer, Altiris

Q. What was the top IT news of 2005?
The arrival of the information age has led to increasing digitalization, dependence on IT infrastructure for commerce, and burgeoning IT costs. Today, one of the biggest challenges for CIOs is to be able to minimize costs while maintaining 99.99 per cent uptime.

Dwain Kinghorn, chief technology officer for Altiris, believes the answer to many of today's IT infrastructure issues lies in virtualization technology

The hot IT news of 2005 was virtualization technology, which was built to provide an answer for system provisioning, capacity and manageability issues. As this emerging technology matured, it brought about distinct benefits in terms of efficiency and cost savings, as well as reduced complexity in IT infrastructures.

Virtualization is no longer only delegated to separating the OS from the hardware platform. Virtualization now promises the delivery of business agility while saving costs at the application level, in other words, separating the application from the OS. And through on-demand application provisioning, IT organizations are now able to eliminate application conflicts, provide instantaneous application delivery, instantly repair damaged applications and significantly reduce testing time for application rollouts, making software operations more efficient.

What was the biggest lesson learnt in 2005?
The biggest lesson learned for Altiris was that there must be an appropriate balance between the delivery quality products and the delivery of immediate innovation.

Virtualization is no longer only delegated to separating the OS from the hardware platform.

Altiris underwent a period of significant growth in the 2005. As much as time-to-market is crucial in gaining market share and maintaining market leadership, we also recognize that our customers demand the delivery of solid, high-quality products that remain best of breed and the most innovation possible.

Whilst trying to grow the company through providing an innovative product portfolio to the market, more than ever our emphasis will be on the delivery of bullet-proof, tried and tested technology to our customers.

Which emerging technologies have the potential to enter mainstream in 2006?
Application virtualization is an emerging technology which has the potential to become mainstream in 2006. This technology has begun to deliver clear benefits to enterprises. More customers are asking for such technology in order to completely change the way enterprise software is managed.

CIOs and IT managers manage applications not only from a cost perspective, but also from availability and performance perspectives, ultimately achieving efficiency, user satisfaction and the ability to align IT goals to business goals.

Another emerging technology which will become mainstream is IT service and asset management. Applications and related infrastructure exist to deliver business value. Very few business models today could consistently outperform current competitors or new entrants, unless computing agility and efficiency are well-tuned.

Asset management is more than just managing chairs, cell phones, routers or mainframes. And, we have observed that digital assets represent more than software licenses. Physical and digital assets are strategic properties that represent powerful strengths, opportunities, and vulnerabilities. It is impossible to leverage investments in information technology without the means to locate, update, and measure asset effectiveness.

IT service and asset management technology can help unite disparate departments and processes by providing insight and relevant information for all assets within an organization. By actively managing the entire asset lifecycle, organizations can eliminate unnecessary software and hardware costs, proactively manage vendor contracts, and align service resources, within best practice frameworks like ITIL (T Infrastructure Library), to ensure optimization of IT investments.

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