Complexity in the Traditional Enterprise

A new survey posted on GRID todayhighlights the Risks associated with Infrastructure Complexity. Interesting highlights include:

  • Each hour of downtime costs Fortune 1000 companies in excess of $300,000 according to 1/3 of the survey responses.

Of course, dependent on the specific Industry, these figures could be so much larger! Everyone tends to focus on availability/scaling issues for the new Internet based companies (Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Ebay). However, if you want to see real risk – consider the impact on some of the core systems that support global Banking / Financial systems.

  • Trouble shooting the problem can take more than a day. According to 1/3 of survey responses.

So if these are the same guys that have the $300,000 an hour loss – the figures are starting to mount up.

  • Change Management for Fortune/FT 1000 companies occupies 11 full time people!
  • Installation and configuration of core applications is a major resource sink; taking 4 days to configure a complete application infrastructure stack.

The report then goes on to justify change management / configuration management products. The implication being that to address the complexity issues, these Fortune/FT 1000 companies need to purchase and configure yet more enterprise software?

So Layering Complexity upon Complexity!!

I wonder, just what is the Production impact, if after all this automation, you loose the systems that are doing the automation and configuration?? I suspect recovery would be significantly longer than 1 working day!

The truth of the matter is that Enterprise Systems including those based upon the latest ESB, Grid, WS-SOA Marketectures are the root cause of the explosive increase in Complexity.

Each of these approaches implicitly assume that:

  • The compute resource landscape is static,
  • Software functionality is static
  • Provisioning is thought of as a one time event, and
  • Failure is treated as an exception.

Whereas in reality:

  • Compute resource landscape is dynamic
  • Software functionality needs to evolve and adapt
  • Provisioning is an on-going process – caused by
  • Continual – re-optimisation against the shfting compute landscape and recovery from failure.

So how do these Fortune/FT 1000 companies dig themselves out of their current Complexity Crisis?

By building the correct IT foundations for their businesses! Fortune 1000 companies need to implement Enterprise wide solutions where configuration, adaption and recovery are core design features. Systems configure, deploy and maintain themselves, as part of what they do (by way of an example – see Infiniflow)! Such solutions will also heavily leverage industry trends towards modularization via OSGi & SCA.

Whether you are the CIO of a Global Bank, a Gaming Company or a Telcoms company, once the correct technology foundations have been put in place – no easy task – significant OPEX savings WILL follow. However, take the easy route – fail with the foundations, avoid necessary change – and no amount of management, configuration or deployment software bandaid will save you!