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Notable IT Management Topics of 2010, looking towards 2011

Back of a geek's pick-up, it'd seem

I was a judge for the recent SearchDataCenter 2010 products of the year awards in the Systems Management category. Indeed, I wrote up the copy for each entry. The top three picks were Puppet/Chef (tied),, and iOS. You can see more details and explanations over there.

While thinking over those products, and the others, I couldn’t help but think of other significant IT Management happenings in 2010 with an eye towards 2011. Here’s what I noted to myself:

The Cloud

While there was no-end of cloud talk in 2010, I expect we’ll see more road-tested stories in 2011. If you’re not familiar with the notion of dev/ops, get yourself a large glass of spiked egg-nog [I’d written this in December] and catch-up on the the concepts. They’ll seem crazy, but relax your mind and pour a little more rum into that egg-nog to try and think optimistically. Private cloud offerings from VMWare,, Eucalyptus, Makara/RedHat, and others are getting good attention, while public cloud offerings (including Microsoft Azure and Salesforce/Heroku, not to mention Amazon, Rackspace, and other IaaSes) are clearly here to stay.


Because of cloud technologies, developers are taking on many of the roles IT traditionally provides. More interestingly, they’re building their own tools and services to support this. Developers have finally understood that if they write their applications to be more manageable they might actually deliver software users care more about…because the software runs better and can be added to more often, cf. “frequent functionality.” Ongoing, developers need help understanding what IT offers them – and IT has a great chance to show them how to avoid that pager going off at 3am in the morning.


CA Technologies has done a lot to pull itself together when it comes to innovation in IT over the past year. Instead of looking towards other enterprise markets to grow their revenue (like Tivoli, which is just fine, if not great, for them), they seem genuinely interested in serving just the IT department and data centers. In 2011, I’m hoping to see them scrape away that legacy crust most people see them as having. They’ve certainly bought enough young whipper snappers over the past year or so.

ITIL, Process, etc.

ITIL has seen a lot of soul searching this year. Rather, IT folks have been wondering how ITIL fits into this whacky cloud vision of the future. While the mid-2000’s saw lots of hay (read: money) made out of the idea of productizing ITIL, the hubbub is a bit more muted now. That said, there’s tremendous value in the collection of practices and, in a sense, ITIL has commodified the general practice of IT Management: there’s little debate about what is done at a high level and the workflows, if only the goals, around those activities.

The governing body and supporters would do well to freshen-up their offerings, make them free, and help steer the overall community into the practices needed for faster, cheaper, and more out of control IT, or, “the cloud,” as people like the call it. Astute observers will also notice how folks like are big-time, successful ITIL implementors without really ever saying so – which should tell you something about the troubling brand value those 4 letters have.

Disclosure: Puppet Labs, OpsCode,, VMWare,, Eucalyptus, RedHat, Microsoft,, Rackspace, and CA Technologies are clients. As are IBM and many other folks in the systems management area.

Categories: Cloud, Systems Management.

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