Written by CloudTalent – published 10 January 2014

Mark Steel, CloudTalent CTO, shared his thoughts on IT infrastructure…

There have been a number of disruptions to big company operations over the past year or so. These disruptions have been played out in the public eye perhaps more so in the past, with many making headline news.

It always seems that these issues end up in the IT problem bucket; cash machines not allowing people to take money out, phones not working, cards being rejected at tills, payments not being accepted and credits not reaching their destinations.

I always feel a little saddened when I hear that yet again IT gets the blame but it raises an interesting point; many traditional businesses like insurance, banking, retail, and transportation are IT businesses with different front ends. It’s just as important to have an IT system that is fit for purpose as it is to have the right products.

Banks have been in the IT business a lot longer than most – the first cashpoint was installed in 1967 and many of the banks core systems have been around since then, starting with Mainframes. Mainframes are still there today and usually at the core of the IT landscape. The IT infrastructure has evolved through various iterations including AS/400, flavours of Unix and Distributed Systems (Windows & Linux).

Now enter the Cloud. The promise of the next wave seems vaguely familiar. I hear language that I recognize; flexibility, utility, elasticity, unlimited capacity, cost effective….but I wonder if any of these things can help us with our outages that seem to be making front page news.

I have no doubt that the answer could be yes but I would also urge people to think about how the waves of IT and associated legacy are somewhat responsible for our challenges today. Some of what we see is that the infrastructure lives on, the application lives on but the skills to support the platform and app have long since left the building.

Managing the long tail of legacy takes a special focus, we don’t often see technology lifecycle management and application lifecycle management as a key priority. Once the application is live and delivering business value there is often no budget to manage that application and its platform. This leads to the complex web of applications and associated infrastructure that many have today.

In summary, we are all for riding the wave but lets not forget the backwash and end up getting swept away.

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