IT's virtual asset economy

The phrase "kid in a candy store" conjures up a dazzling dreamscape of treats and an immediate longing for everything that the kid sees.

Handing independent technology budgets to managers with spending authority is an allowance for a periodic trip to the high-tech candy store. It's wasteful. Redundancies are inevitable, and no one can plan their needs as far ahead as budget cycles demand. Making nontechnical management responsible for IT spending creates a counterproductive culture of ownership of the assets acquired.

On the flip side, you can't just force departments to throw money at IT to spend as IT sees fit. The crew on the loading dock may have better insight than IT into some groups' computing and storage requirements.

I see a way out: Virtualize all assets, and turn managers with spending authority into IT investors. When money is distributed to managers for IT-related purchases, that capital goes to IT with the investor's minimum requirements attached. Ideally, those requirements will be expressed in terms that are accessible to the investors because one of the problems that needs solving is that so few really know what they need -- which is a real boon for the consulting industry. IT gets to decide where the new boxes live and what badge is on them; but new investments always buy the latest hardware, and even though everything is virtually pooled and dynamically provisioned, no investor in the pool ever gets fewer cycles, less memory, smaller network pipes, or less storage than what their investment entitles them to. Conversely, one department can't throttle back its IT investment with the confidence that faster boxes and bigger pools of storage will just appear because other departments paid for them. Everybody gets exactly what they pay for.

Savvy candy store patrons know to shop in groups so that they can try new edibles with the option to trade them later for something more palatable. In a virtual asset economy, it's important to give investors a chance to make mistakes in their choices and to trade virtual assets among themselves.

Manager A thought his solution mix would require tons of storage with full snapshots done daily. He discovers later that standard incremental backups offer sufficient coverage and that his money would have been better spent on aggregated Gigabit Ethernet links among his (virtual) servers. Manager B has aggregated links going to seed, and she'd like to have storage volumes with snapshot backups. So they swap. If IT has to get involved, that might be a deal that has to wait for the next budget cycle. In most cases, the kinds of trades that groups would want to make could be handled from a managerial dashboard.

This idea fits with my overall campaign to bring control of physical assets back to IT, which has to live with the hardware and solution purchasing decisions made by nontechnical management. Managers and users clearly get what they pay for; instrumentation built into virtualization software can identify waste and bottlenecks. Older hardware -- and software that has fallen a couple of releases behind the present -- ends up in a bargain pool. The older gear that draws no new investors might serve for fail-over and batch work, but when someone comes to IT with just a nickel to spend on some long-shot project, those older, affordable resources will be there. A trip to the candy store needn't be traumatic.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Yager

Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?