I tend to split my time between talking to Systems Integrators (SIs) and their larger enterprise customers, working with them to both get the best from their investment in F5 technology, and to look for more ways to sell them stuff help them.

It’s an interesting place to be at the moment as many organisations are looking to their key suppliers to help them plan and implement flexible/elastic/private cloud compute initiatives in the hope of increasing the agility and decreasing the costs of their IT delivery.

This changes the game for enterprise IT vendors and SIs. Suddenly which vendor’s two socket blade server is slightly more efficient or which storage gives that extra 5% of performance becomes secondary to the organisation’s overriding need: who can take the promised efficiency, agility and cost savings of cloud architectures and make them a useable reality.

To build a truly agile datacentre all the infrastructure, from storage to networking (and the messy bits in between) have to be designed to adapt and scale without manual intervention, controlled by a centralised management system which can orchestrate all the datacentre components to create the service that the business needs.

In my view, being able to coordinate the activities of these components to create a flexible, integrated service delivery environment will be the lynch-pin of the success of the private cloud and will dictate the winners and losers in the enterprise IT space.

So, listen up, IT vendors: It’s all about the orchestration.