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OpenWorld 2011: Decade of high 'lights on' IT spend industry's fault

OpenWorld 2011: Decade of high 'lights on' IT spend industry's fault

EMC's Joe Tucci says the industry has failed to lift the percentage of IT spend for innovation; Cloud to also enable value from Big Data

EMC chief, Joe Tucci.

EMC chief, Joe Tucci.

Despite a decade of vendor promises, the IT industry has largely failed to lessen the percentage of tech budgets dedicated to ‘keeping the lights on’ at the expense of freeing up spend for innovation, Oracle OpenWorld 2011 attendees have heard.

Read more on Oracle OpenWorld 2011

In his keynote presentation, EMC chief, Joe Tucci, said that after 40 years in the industry, IT wasn’t so much as shorthand for ‘information technology’ as for ‘Industry in Transition’.

“I have seen waves of change – from mainframes to mini computers to micro processor to client-server and now the Cloud,” he said. “The one thing I can tell you for sure… is that while these waves of change – from wave to wave – have been massively disruptive, they are also a massive opportunity for all of us.

“This Cloud computing wave is going to be the most disruptive but also the most opportunity-rich wave the IT industry has seen.”

In addition to change, the IT industry faced a trifecta of tight budgets, a ‘data deluge’ and increased security threats, Tucci said.

“Let’s talk about the budget dilemma: as an industry we have failed as the [split between IT mainatance and innovation spend] has looked the same for about the last ten years,” he said. “Three quarters of IT budgets go toward maintaining existing infrastructure and only a quarter goes toward doing something brand new…

“We need to change this. For ten years we have made great productivity strides but the way the pie is sliced remains the same.”

Stressing the forthcoming data deluge, Tucci pointed to IDC figures which indicated that in the run up to 2019 global data volumes would grow from some 0.9 zettabytes at the start of the decade to some 35.2 zettabytes. A zettabyte is equal to one billion terabytes.

“90 per cent of that data will be unstructured, so hence the rise of Big Data,” he said. “What is causing Big Data? Video surveillance, video rendering, genomic sequencing, smart grids, everything mobile… I could go on and on.”

This massive data growth also posed a major challenge when it came to security, Tucci said. This was more the case given that the number of daily security attacks on large enterprises averaged some 300.

“I’ve never had one customer tell me I’m exaggerating. Customers say that number is ‘light’. ‘I get attacked more than that’,” he said.

According to Tucci a further challenge was that the number of IT staff working in the industry was tipped to grow at less that 50 per cent in the next decade.

“Think about that. Data is going to grow at a compound [annual] growth rate of in excess of 50 per cent yet IT staff will grow at a compound rate of less than four per cent,” he said. “We need new modes of productivity; we need new tools; we need new capabilities. Enter the Cloud.”

Tucci said EMC was now focused on enabling its customers -- and itself -- to transition to a hybrid public-private Cloud to make use of cloud enabled applications -- particularly future ones which would be built to extract business information from Big Data.

“There is a whole set of Big Data apps: how do you take this massive amount of information and get value in real time,” he said. “That is one of the real notions of Cloud computing in the future: you are going to want to process this data in real time to find out what is happening now to then make the best business decisions.”

Tim Lohman travelled to OpenWorld 2011 as a guest of Oracle.

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