Friday, November 26, 2010

"Opening Stand," and reaching for the fences!

“In cricket batsmen often need a slice of luck to build a decent innings,” was the opening line in a recent column “Opening stand” in the magazine The Economist , Nov 20th, ’10 issue. “A good start builds confidence and experience that boosts future performance,” the author then suggests. “A strong debut seems to lead to a shinier career,” the article continues.

“Let IT managers make a handful of choices that result in an integrated set of servers, storage, and high-speed networking,” comes the call in the opening paragraph of the column, “QuickTakes” in the magazine InformationWeek , Oct 11th, ’10 issue. “Many will conclude they can’t do this with the mish-mash of servers and other parts they have,” the author observes.

I was drawn to these two articles as I leafed through magazines piled on my desk, relaxing after a weekend of driving on a difficult race track under trying conditions. Leaving the starting grid at the start of the day in pouring rain and with standing water along one of the main straights, helped little in promoting confidence.

But in cricket, as with IT, and as in tracking cars, it is about teams. The friends that were with me helped me determine my tactics. And I made a good start; making the necessary driver adjustments that the changing weather dictated and bringing the car safely back into pit lane.

Introducing a new product often trends in much the same way, particularly when the new product is aimed at helping IT better reduce the number of choices they have to deal with – fewer options tend to favor tighter integration and support the convergence and transformation much of the industry is talking about.

Standardizing on open networks, such as TCP/IP within and outside, the data center, is at the forefront of every data center manager’s plans for networking future. It’s their experience gained through the years that has allowed them to make timely adjustments and to avoid the mistakes that come from cobbling together the mish-mash of componentry they may have inherited.

When the wraps first came of the InfraSoft product, uLinga, there were two distinct packages – uLinga for CICS and uLinga for IMS. Targeting the elimination of SNA from within the data center, catering for inter-system networking and focused solely on TCP/IP, the team at InfraSoft was quick to realize what adjustments had to be made to better meet the needs of NonStop customers.

After all, just as in cricket where “a bad start is not easily forgiven; selectors appear to discard potentially high-ability players who had the misfortune to debut abroad.” In Infrasoft’s case, the first customer wanted to deploy uLinga not inside the data center but rather, across the network and in support of older legacy SNA client devices.

Without a second thought, the team adjusted and in a very short period of time, leveraging the framework within uLinga (a set of libraries and tools the team has begun calling aKuna – more on that later), released uLinga for DLSw (Data Link Switching).

Competitive products already existed, but the ability to adjust the way that Infrasoft did, and in the timeframe the customer needed, certainly gave Infrasoft a chance to hit the ball out of the park for six (or hit a home run). Time will tell if they did, but they’re flexible enough to be in a position to make that happen!

It has definitely improved the reach of uLinga and greatly enhanced the value it will bring to those within IT; rationalizing their technology, pulling back from the choices made in the past, just as it has laid the foundation for a broader product offering than first envisioned. A strong debut, indeed!

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