IT Superheroes - Even a CIO Hero Needs a Team!

By Lauren Willard

| min

Recently at the annual Nutanix .NEXT Conference, Nutanix CIO Wendy M. Pfeiffer gave a perspective on the team members CIOs need today to succeed in the evolving cloud world. Here are some of the key takeaways from her presentation.

Today’s IT leaders have achieved some formidable skills and earned their executive position through some hard times. Their contribution to modern enterprises is nothing short of heroic! But in today’s hybrid cloud world, these IT leaders also need a strong team of specialists at the ready if they want their companies to not only survive, but to thrive! To run their companies’ world-class workloads in the optimal mix of public and private clouds, every IT Hero needs:

  • Operational Experts
  • Visionary Architects
  • Experienced IT Technologists
  • Partners and Support
  • Portfolio Management

Read on to get the rundown of each IT Superhero and why their super powers are needed for CIOs and the companies they support to succeed.

Operational Experts

IT’s “on-premise” datacenters have run like well-oiled machines for decades. CIOs know how to optimize space, bandwidth and energy consumption, and they know what’s needed for physical and logical access and V1 resilience (load-balanced and redundant hardware), along with the optimal level of datacenter monitoring and management.

IT has also been running large-scale operations on public cloud infrastructure for over a decade now. In public clouds, IT optimizes access to scalable compute and storage resources for variable capacity workloads,while using the added performance for edge computing requirements and V2 resilience (fault-tolerant and self-healing code). However, optimizing hybrid cloud operations is IT’s newest challenge. Optimizing a hybrid cloud requires a detailed, validated description of the total operational environment, combined with administrative expertise at the operating system and hypervisor level for all clouds. It also needs adaptive monitoring and resource management that spans end-to-end workflows, and it needs people and processes capable of correlating conditions across the hybrid environment and then responding autonomously. IT’s operational expertise, forged in the datacenter and refined in the public cloud, is the key to solving these new challenges. Datacenter operations experts are one Superhero the CIO can’t live without.

Visionary Architects

The greatest architects understand physical and aesthetic limitations while striving to realize their higher vision. For a truly performant hybrid cloud architecture CIOs want a single operating system running across all clouds, with the ability to dynamically utilize storage, compute and local network resources: hyperconvergence! They also need to create and expand clusters across the entire fabric and invoke any infrastructure resources via code.

A successful hybrid cloud architect needs a reliable and modern hypervisor that’s capable of running well and predictably in both private and public clouds and one that is fully capable of making optimal use of hyperconverged resources. She also needs open and available API’s and standards which enable integration with modern best of breed and legacy applications, as well as adaptive and performant use of cybersecurity policies and toolsets across the fabric and across all types of clouds. In other words, to be an IT Superhero, an architect requires a flexible and adaptive foundation.

Experienced IT Technologists

To stand ready to meet each incoming challenge, everything that every IT team member does must be documented in detail and, ultimately, expressed as code. To do that, IT technologists need a best-in-class operational process, adaptive health monitoring, and reliable incident management reporting. While they need to have full integration and access to other toolsets, they also have to retain the ability to run legacy or unique-functionality services too.

Every IT team member, even “old school” superheroes, must become conversant in both writing code and integrating functions into existing code sets. “Future-proofing” the hybrid cloud requires that every team member has the ability to express and access any service or function as code. Many tools are available to short-cut or simplify this mandate. Thanks to the public cloud vendors and many consumer-tech companies, machine learning, natural language processing and containerization technologies are production-class today and, when embedded in toolsets, ready for IT consumption.

Partners and Support Teams

Even the best IT superheroes must have access to specialists who extend the team’s capabilities in areas such as design and planning, as well as understanding and implementing new technologies at scale, staff augmentation for special projects, and timely delivery of vendor product shipments. And battle-weary IT heroes know that getting a second or even third opinion can be priceless when large budgets and key business objectives are at stake. As they say, “iron sharpens iron”: even the best teams must consult and train in order to maintain their edge and technology prowess. IT exists to help companies identify, adopt and run technology. Partners exist to help IT do that.

Portfolio Management

To continuously deliver business value, IT must have access to a healthy mix of extensible and adaptive technologies, the ability to ingest technology via multiple consumption models, ubiquitous and efficient supportability, application portability, specialized skills and resources and lastly, vendor choice.

To support IT’s needs, vendors must understand they will always be part of a custom ecosystem that IT is ultimately responsible to design, adapt, secure and run. They must refrain from draconian licensing practices that seek to “lock-in” usage over time, while ensuring that their design principles and expressed products are capable of supporting IT’s preferred mode of operation: the hybrid cloud. Lastly, vendors must provide modern products designed to enable true application portability: the ability to run any service on any hardware in any cloud.

Without these IT superheroes on the team, modern IT operations would grind to a halt, and our enterprises and customers would suffer. To provide our companies with true productivity and performance, it’s time to assemble the team and keep these IT superheroes at the ready!

Click here to get the full presentation from Wendy’s breakout session at .NEXT.

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