Automation, aligning IT with the business and mainframe computing are the keys to solving today's IT headaches, delegates at CA World 2008 in Las Vegas were told by CA chief technology officer Al Nugent.
Nugent opened his keynote by offering an overview of the key concerns currently raised by IT chiefs. These include economic pressures, providing flexibility, new regulatory challenges as a result of the financial crisis, and deciding which new technologies to implement and which are just a "flash in the pan".
On top of these current issues, companies face a "gathering storm" of new IT challenges.
"The number of IP-addressable networked devices is increasing by an order of magnitude. There will be almost 600 billion devices of various sorts that will live on networks in roughly seven or eight years," Nugent said, adding that this growth in devices will also create new security and risk management challenges.
Nugent also predicted a step "forward into the past" around the mainframe model. "Virtualisation started 40 years ago on the mainframe. It started with a collection of big machines managed by a few technology people," he said.
"We've evolved from the mainframe to a larger number of machines connected to the web-based world. We need to find ways to get back to that old model."
Nugent also called for a bridge between IT and business people. "The business and technology relationship remains paramount," he said, adding that IT teams need to operate within the context of risk, economics and the day-to-day business environment.
The growth of new IT delivery models such as cloud computing has also led to the need for advanced automation capabilities. Nugent cited three current methods of service provision: on premise; near premise through a service provider; and off premise via cloud computing.
"Should the automation for on premise be different to that for the other models? No, as that takes us back to a silo mentality and doesn't provide value, " Nugent said. "We need to create one set of automation capabilities that don't care if you are on premise or cloud."
To aid firms in this area, CA demoed its forthcoming IT Process Automation Manager during the keynote, which will launch in beta next month. This aims to offer policy-based automation of computing resource management at a variety of levels across multiple domains, and could run across CA and third-party products, Nugent said.
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