The contrarian view

Zohar Gilad, vice president of products at Mercury Interactive, says the concept of a self-healing infrastructure is great, but how does that help the developer? And he maintains that the notion of on-demand or utility computing is "a more beautiful name for outsourcing." Neither idea addresses the heart of the problem, he said. "There is value in trying to encapsulate the plumbing and infrastructure in the data center, but this is a secondary issue. The biggest problem is how do you elevate the value of the technology assets you have as CIO, and align those assets with the business goals?

"I meet a lot of CIOs and they're already measuring all the traffic lights for the network, systems data and storage," he added. "What they don't have and don't know is the impact of what they do and where they invest in customers and end users. They want to change the way to manage IT from bottom up to top down."

From Mercury's perspective, that means business technology optimization (BTO). Zohar said BTO encompasses three areas: IT governance (demand management, portfolio management); cost and resource management (how you decide which strategic IT project to undertake); and business design/development (the entire delivery process -- testing, change management, capacity assessment, etc.).

"Self-healing is great, but the real issue is what is the quality and performance of the technology and, specifically, the apps," added Christopher Lochhead, Mercury's chief marketing officer. "Mercury's answer is to engineer-in quality before delivering an application, and once you're in production, don't just measure the technical availability of the application, measure the performance level of the application from a business perspective."

For more, see the feature story "Self-healing systems" by Colleen Frye, or click here for Web-only stories on grid computing.

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.


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