Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for February 15th, 2010

Building a Smarter Infrastructure

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Though I’m attending a number of meetings throughout Europe this week, it’s not too early to start beating the drum for our IBM Pulse 2010 conference next week in Las Vegas.

Can you hear the drums all the way from here in Stuttgart!?  Dies ist gut!

Once again, I’ll be in Vegas for several days in a row to play some serious golf, finally take in that Cirques du Soleil show I’ve been putting off seeing, and try to qualify and become the first IBMer ever to win the World Series of Poker.

Uh, err, I mean, I’ll be on the scene in Vegas providing some social media air cover via this blog and the Twittersphere….no, really.

Since snow golf is out here in Stuttgart, I figured I would start setting the scene now.

If you’ve seen any of IBM’s smarter planet advertising, particularly the TV spots, you’ve probably seen them reference the idea of a more dynamic infrastructure.

What, exactly, do we mean by that?

Well, if you look at the three big ideas that help us build a smarter planet — instrument the world’s systems; interconnect them; and make them more intelligent — then you realize inherent in that instrumentation and interconnectivity is the need to know what’s going on with all those systems at all times, and to use their performance data to make actionable (and, hopefully, intelligent) business decisions.

That’s where service management for a dynamic infrastructure comes into play.

To put it more simply, think of your IT systems and infrastructure as the patient, and service management as the monitoring system.

You can’t the make patient better unless you can diagnose them and be able to understand what’s going on with them at any given moment.

A smarter infrastructure also means one that is dynamic, one that can respond quickly and dependably to changing conditions in the market and make the most use of your precious IT resources — but it must doing so while also being cognizant of and minimizing the costs to the environment (carbon footprint, electricity usage, etc.) and your organization (money spent on IT!).

By way of example, since 2006, IBM customer Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT), which runs the Roland Garros (French Open) tennis tournament annually, has seen a decrease of 40 percent in power consumption and of 48 percent of cooling load in its own IT infrastructure.

They’ve also created a “virtualized” infrastructure, one whereby they’ve minimized their server footprint from 60 to 6 over a three-year period.

Game, set, and match, right?

But a dynamic infrastructure doesn’t stop at the halls of IT, or courtside in Paris.

A smarter infrastructure is one that meets new requirements and opportunities: One that increases the accuracy of simulations and predictions by supporting more complex trending and analysis tools.  One that allows the integration of physical, chemical, biological, and even socioeconomic factors into modeling and analysis.

In other words, it’s not just about service levels anymore. Consumer expectations are higher than ever.

Take the world I live and breathe in, the wacky world of the Web, as an example: 33 percent of consumers shopping via a broadband connection will wait no more than four seconds for a Web page to render.

No pressure or anything.

So, the opportunity that a smarter and more dynamic infrastructure presents is simple: One that can help organizations meet both the risks and opportunities in an ever-more connected, collaborative electronic world.

That’s the wide shot.

In a future post, I’ll talk about the opportunity and avenues that organizations can pursue to take some initial steps towards building their own smarter infrastructure.

But for now, I have to get back to practicing my German.

At the Moevenpick

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It’s morning in Stuttgart.

As I just Tweeted, nothing beats a long, jetlagged, sleep-deprived night of slumber and a proper German breakfast.

It was snowing when I arrived in Stuttgart yesterday afternoon.  But that was nothing new: As I flew north from Austin, starting about Dallas and all the way to Chicago, the entire mid-west was a white cotton patch of snow.

I was last in Stuttgart the week that the financial crisis began in September 2008, so it’s nice to be here when circumstances aren’t quite so dire.  I still remember discovering Lehman was likely going south, along with the rest of the market, and anxiously moving money around in my 401K from equities to bonds.  I wish I had moved more!

Quick and easy Stuttgart travel tip: Stay in one of the two Moevenpick hotels, which you can walk to from the airport.

I was about to hail a taxi yesterday afternoon, when I asked the taxi driver how far it was to the Moevenpick — he pointed across the street.

Ah, that far.  I think I’ll walk!

On the technology front, the major news I saw emerge over the weekend were in the mobile space: Adobe is expecting to announce at today’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Adobe AIR for mobile devices, and will move the Flash runtime to mobile browsers with its 10.1 player update.

This will allow mobile developers to develop consistently across both the desktop and most mobile browsers — except, are you holding your breath? — that’s right, the iPhone.

TechCrunch blogs that this will be great for mobile video, and advertising, as the 10.1 player will provide custom skin and advertising opportunities, as well as consistent metrics capabilities (remembering also that Adobe last year bought Web metrics firm, Omniture).

I say it’s just that much more jet fuel on the mobile marketing fire, and once again we could start to see a major schism in the market: Adobe v. Apple.

Though competition in development tools is goodness, the platform schism isn’t, at least not in the North American market. The wireless telcos have already played the bad guy walled gardens — we don’t need another Java v. NET in the enterprise mobile market to create more variances when the industry is trying to build a broader market (and, dare I say it aloud, a new platform for marketing).

However, I’m not sure Apple can win this one.

Even with all the iPhones that have been sold, some 50M+, that’s an absurdly small number compared with all the other mobile handsets sold around the world.  If Flash even gets a good 50-60% share on those devices, game over.

As for me, I’ve got to grab my own mobile device, the original BlackBerry Bold, and run to the IBM offices in Stuttgart.


Written by turbotodd

February 15, 2010 at 8:35 am

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