Last week saw VMworld Europe 2013 take place in Barcelona where we were exposed to some of the latest developments in virtualisation and cloud technology. With a huge number of announcements and partnerships, as well as new technologies emerging, one thing’s for sure: it’s a very exciting time to be involved in the industry.

 

As cloud computing continues to grow rapidly, we’re seeing new and impressive tools for managing both infrastructures and data flows within networks. Increasingly, the tools are improving the automation and orchestration of the cloud, making the lives of CIOs, network managers and IT departments everywhere simpler.

 

While there were a large number of product announcements (with our F5 Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter Orchestrator being announced during VMworld as well) the most interesting thing, to me, is what this spells for the future of business networks. As VMware’s CEO Pat Geisinger highlighted, Gartner has said that just 30 per cent of IT budgets are currently being spent on innovation due to heavy but brittle infrastructures requiring ongoing investment to build and maintain. However, what we’re seeing with the rise of increasingly automated cloud infrastructures is that networking is becoming lighter and more robust – with multiple off-site redundancies and managed data centres giving both time and money back to IT. In turn, we are seeing more innovative ways of using technology start to emerge.

 

One potential risk that I can see on the horizon is that, as costs come down, budgets could fall with them – reducing the overall scope for innovation projects to take place. What is needed is for IT directors and CIOs to stand firm in the face of the board and demonstrate the value that IT innovation can bring to businesses and increase budget allocations for innovative projects and proofs of concepts.

 

By creating additional budget for innovation IT professionals can become IT Heroes, driving businesses forward with more effective processes and helping to keep staff happy and more productive. Changes to how network infrastructure is managed should be seen as an opportunity for IT to become business leaders, not just a cost-saving exercise for the business.