When IaaS vendor Peak Colo upgraded its data network to the Brocade VCS 10 Gb Ethernet Fabric in part to eliminate the limitations of spanning tree in favor of the TRILL network architecture, it triggered a reorganization of its entire IT department, says CEO Luke Norris. The upgrade replaced not just the company's old Ethernet but its Brocade Fiber Channel SAN as well, creating a single unified computing environment that used one switch family, one management suite, and one network skill set.
This simplified operations from purchasing through operations. The real impact, however, was the elimination of storage networking as a separate function from the rest of networking. Peak Colo was able to reorganize its IT department and operations to focus on services and the applications it runs for its individual clients. IT silo performance measurements such as network throughput were minimized in favor of the one measure important to its customers – IO response time.
The traditional operational silos were broken down in favor of multi-skilled teams headed by senior engineers who understand the infrastructure as a whole. The specialists are still there, but no one acts without being aware of the impact on service delivery. Even traditional three-and five-year hardware upgrade schedules have been scrapped in favor of upgrading to meet the anticipated needs of applications and their users.
Action Item: The era of cloud services requires that internal IT adapt a service orientation. That involves much more than just listing IT services on a menu. IT must break down the traditional silos to create multifunctional teams focused on the needs of each service and business users and in particular deliver the right IO response rates combined with adequate security and infrastructure resiliency. As Norris says, “The day when a SAN tech can operate without regard for the entire infrastructure are gone.”