Article

IT veterans' wish list for 2006

Matt Stansberry

Robert Rosen, president of the mainframe user group SHARE, spends a lot of time listening to IT pros in the trenches.

This year Rosen decided to write down the wants and needs of his members and came up with a list of the overarching concerns among IT pros. This is a sampling of SHARE's wishes for 2006.

Real relief from the abuse of IP-based applications. Problems like e-mail abuse by spam, phishing, viruses; abuse by instant messaging and spam over IM; and peer-to-peer file sharing are eating away at IT efficiency. Rosen said SHARE members aren't looking for more bolt-on solutions like spam filters, but real progress toward a network protocol environment that provides accountability without compromising confidentiality.

Robert Rosen, SHARE President

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"People are spending so much time and money on patchwork solutions for these problems. It's non-productive," Rosen said.

According to Rosen, Internet service providers (ISPs) have to be willing to take responsibility for what's going out on their systems -- something they haven't been willing to do.

"That would be a huge first step. If ISPs would jump in with both feet, they could kill a lot of this," Rosen said. "When I get the numbers for the amount of viruses, attacks and spam that are coming into my organization, it makes me wonder how much of our bandwidth is being eaten up by this. Fifty percent? It's an astronomical number, a waste of resources."

Easier use of open source software. SHARE wants IT vendors to make open source enterprise-worthy in installation, operation and management -- for example, a Linux distribution that correctly installs with all drivers (including video and audio) perfect out of the box. Members said a good flash drive version of Linux would be nice, too.

"This is an issue that is getting higher on everyone's list," Rosen said. "We'd all be ready to jump on open source if it weren't for the issues with drivers and management functions. All of the people who want to follow best practices protocols like IT Infrastructure Library can't get into open source for the enterprise."

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According to Rosen, SHARE members think that Linux vendors are moving in the right direction, but the technology still has some growing up to do.

Easier server consolidation. After a few years of unabated growth in the server farms, the cost of maintaining software and hardware upgrades necessitates consolidation. Rosen said people are consolidating now with virtualization and more powerful machines, but it takes sophisticated skills to achieve those goals.

"It takes a lot of skill," Rosen said. "IT people don't want to spend a lot of brain power doing this. It needs to be simpler."

But according to Rosen, SHARE members need to get consolidation projects underway. Many are facing real problems with environmental issues. More demand equates to more servers, more density, more cooling and more power.

"The cost curve is increasing exponentially," Rosen said.

Proof of value and easier implementation of service-oriented architecture (SOA). Rosen said IT pros want examples of successful SOA implementations by real people, sharing the benefits and, more importantly, the pitfalls of SOA. There are a lot of technologies out there, but not a lot of success stories.

"Everyone has a gut feeling that SOA is really important. But IT people are asking for a business case to sell to the higher ups," Rosen said. "It's really a sign that IT has evolved, the fact that IT is asking for a business case. IT is more business-like now. It's not just nerds in white coats."

A breather to fully incorporate and absorb all the changes IT pros are dealing with. Rosen said IT pros have been under more stress than ever, thanks to the onslaught of new technologies, the push for IT to do more with less and compliance pressures.

"Every e-mail has to be captured and archived now," Rosen said. "According to the law, you're supposed to even capture instant messaging. And then you're running into storage issues because you have to keep it all."

In addition to these wishes, SHARE came up with many more, including:

  • Improvements in heterogeneous, federated identity management.
  • Standards-based distributed file system that is scalable, high performance, secure, manageable, referenced by a single name space.
  • Truly interoperable calendaring capabilities, allowing for easy collaboration among colleagues at different organizations. This should include reliable, standards-based, synchronization with PDAs, cell phones and other calendars.
  • Much better batteries so that battery-powered devices could run for days without a recharge.
  • A simple to implement, secure shell version of remote desktop for corporate access from the Internet.
  • Free wireless access at all airports.
  • More cooperation between vendors and research institutions in ways that enable cooperative initiatives for early testing of new technologies.
  • Intelligent use of Digital rights management -- in other words, not like Sony.
  • Integrating new things, such as RSS, podcasts and blogs into the standard way companies run their businesses.
  • Next generation electronic newspaper -- a device that is large enough for anyone to read that is flexible and has intelligence to subscribe, pay for and store for offline reading of news feeds and documents.
  • Increased attendance at SHARE conferences, as more people recognize the value of learning from people in the trenches.

    Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, News Editor


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