The company has been involved with management of virtual systems for quite some time but, takes a different approach than most of their competitors (which would be companies such as Cassatt, Opsware, Parallels, VMware (VMware Lab Manager), Virtual Iron, XenSource). The approach focuses on facilitating the application life cycle of development, testing, production, training, support, post production tear down.
We both agreed that the world the IT organization has changed radically over the years. In the past, the IT organization would spend 18-24 months developing an application knowing that it would run for the next 5-10 years. Over time, that application would be enhanced and supported. At this point in time, a large portion of the IT budget is focused on maintenance tasks for applications built this way.
If we consider the confluence of the trends such as the following:
- The impact of increasing use of 5 or 6 different types of virtualization technology
- Organizations having to refine their direction rapidly to deal with new regulations, new competitors, new technology and a global market
- The impact of the Worldwide Web on all aspects of the organization's operations
- Work being assigned to the location or country offering the lowest perceived cost structure
- Applications being based upon service oriented architectures
- Applications made available as service offerings rather than as packaged products.
it's easy to see that the careful, supportable approach taken by IT is no longer fast enough and produces applications that are "too good." Now organizations want to go from an idea, to a prototype, to production in no time at all and their IT infrastructure and supporting processes must be fast enough to support this new process.
They know that their business is going to change from moment to moment. They know that means that applications that are critical to business operations must be good enough to get by but, will never be perfected. We've entered the world of "throw away applications." Business requirements will change again and again during the 18-24 month development cycle that was the former mainstay of IT organizations. By the time a "perfected" application is made available, no one will want to use it. Even though new applications are following an accelerated path, the established applications and systems must still be supported and enhanced as needed.
Surgient has developed a set of applications allowing systems to provisioned, used for a time, and then re-provisioned in an automated process that's fast enough to support the new "throw away" world. I'm haven't totally analyzed Surgient's approach or have totally grasped all of the ramifications of Surgient's approach. My initial impressions are, however, that the tools Surgient is offering would help organizations accelerate their application life cycle.
Has your organization experienced this rapidly shrinking application life cycle? What has been done to address this issue? How has virtualization been used to help?