MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Infrastructure management (IM) vendor solutions need to include a higher-level management perspective on the cost, value, risk, and flexibility aspects of delivering IT services, according to Ovum.
In its latest Decision Matrix: Selecting an Infrastructure Management Solution, the technology analyst firm reveals that disruptive technologies such as virtualization, automation, and cloud computing have raised the profile of this sector as the need for management and control begins to cross over from a purely technical realm to a more business-focused activity.
“Ultimately CIOs will become chief integration officers, responsible for matching the wide selection of IT sources to demands from customers,” says Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum. “The biggest challenge facing this role will be to understand what each IM vendor’s vision is for the future and how this translates to their plans for the organisation.”
Categorising the top ten players in the IM market into Leaders, Challengers and Followers*, Ovum’s Decision Matrix (ODM) relieves some of this pressure from those having to make these difficult decisions.
“The IM market is splitting into two distinct segments catering for two different groups of organizations – ‘just enough’ management by small and medium-sized organizations, and service assurance by large enterprises,” says Illsley. “But the needs are better amplified by the significance of IT to the organization. Where IT is a competitive differentiator, service assurance is of greater value, but if IT is seen as a cost of doing business, ‘just enough’ is better aligned.”
The ODM shows that change within the IM vendor landscape has been driven by acquisitions and disposals. EMC's sale of assets to VMware has propelled VMware into the Leader category, while Dell’s increased capability from acquiring Kace and Scalent has meant it now meets Ovum’s ODM inclusion criteria.
There is also a clear variation in the approach and focus of all vendors to the role of the management layer: Symantec believes the security and operations alignment movement is an approach to enable greater flexibility, while Microsoft has chosen to build a large partner community to provide ‘plug-in’ modules to its core offering to provide the same objective.
However, the identified leaders (CA Technologies, HP, IBM, and VMware) all demonstrate capability of providing excellent siloed solutions, and have new, more heterogeneous cloud-enabled solutions and visions for how future infrastructure management will evolve.
“All vendors in the ODM share a vision that infrastructure management will become the critical technology for organizations to operate effectively and enable business agility, but the approaches to how this will be achieved differ. This is a sign of a healthy market in which the customer will decide which are mainstream and which are niche,” concludes Illsley.