IT Transformation – the Varrow way

Technology and Competitive Forces Drive Transformation

Growing IT complexity, cloud technologies and operating models, software-defined data centers, automation, workload mobility, DevOps… all these forces are acting on your your business and your IT organization, pulling IT toward a more agile, more elastic, more cost-effective, more business-focused future.

But how do you get there? What mix of models and approaches is right for your business, today and in the future? What’s the business case? What skills and operational changes will be required to make it work?

To take advantage of changing technologies and operating models, IT organizations must understand and plan transformation along three axes:

  • Applications and Services
  • Infrastructure
  • Operations

Application and … Continue Reading

ITIL vs. DevOps vs. Agile vs. Cloud vs. Automation vs. chaos vs. …

About 25 years into my IT career, and almost 15 years after first “getting the IT Service Management religion” around ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) and related disciplines, this year I’ve been working on my ITIL Expert certification. When I share this with anyone else in the IT field, the facial response I receive typically falls into one of several patterns, depending upon that person’s professional role and past experiences:



“Why?” is the most common, verbal response.

“Dinosaur…” is the most common, unspoken thought (I imagine).

I’ll go back to “Why?”

Why, … Continue Reading

Rediscovering Mind Mapping


I recall coming across mind mapping 15 years ago, when much of my consulting work was focused around Knowledge Management and Process Improvement. The concept was intriguing, but the available tools were slow and inelegant, and drawing such things in real time (or at all, for that matter) isn’t one of my strengths. So it got relegated to the “consultant’s attic,” a pile of cobweb-covered ideas and techniques in a dark and frightening corner of my brain.

Recently, two experiences brought mind maps back to top-of-mind. First, I’ve been working to … Continue Reading

The Sharknado is coming to corporate IT…. or it’s already here…

Last night, talking with my wife in the aftermath of carnage and destruction that was Sharknado, we were trying to unravel what the heck had just happened.

sharknado-1SyFy had managed to create something of a genuine pop culture HAPPENING – focused around what is perhaps one of the worst movies ever made. Everyone came expecting the pinnacle of schlock… and parts of it delivered as expected, but parts of it were just plain boring and bad and not even capable of being appreciated for the art of badness. Most terrible movies of … Continue Reading

Cloud Transition Planning: Do you really understand your Applications and Services?

When talking with customers about their cloud transition initiatives, most people seem to fall into one of two camps, in terms of how they think about the complexities of the cloud. I didn’t say everyone… just most people. I’ll refer to these alternative approaches here as “infrastructure-centric” and “applications-centric” models.

Some folks approach cloud transition with a focus on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) as just the next straightforward, logical step beyond their existing current-state server virtualization capabilities. To take this “infrastructure-centric” approach to its intentionally oversimplified extreme, one of these folks might say (or at least think) something like this:
If our current workloads … Continue Reading

Growing Your Cloud: When HealthChecks Aren’t Enough

The core of most of our customers’ private cloud infrastructure is based on VMware technology. As we’ve discussed previously, most customers are adding more cloud-like provisioning and management capabilities to their existing virtual infrastructure, for a variety of reasons. Many customers are facing emerging demands to grow their infrastructure – in both scale and capabilities – at ever increasing rates, to service new types of workloads. Quite a few of our customers are becoming service providers themselves in some form, and applications hosted on their infrastructure are facing new external customer audiences with new expectations.

One of our most frequently requested … Continue Reading

Are you Cloud Bats, or Cloud Geese?

Imagine doing a poll of twenty IT and business stakeholders in your organization about your current or planned cloud initiatives. These should be folks who will either be key to driving success of the initiative, or key beneficiaries of it – CIO, IT management, business sponsors, other executives, project managers, key users, applications folks, infrastructure folks, network and security folks, etc. Folks who have enough of a stake in the outcome of the initiative, that they should have a pretty good idea what’s going on. Let’s say you were to ask them all some pretty basic questions:

The Many Facets of BYOD

MobileDevicesYour employees, contractors, customers, partners, vendors, and guests have devices. LOTS of devices. And they are bringing them into your environment, whether you like it, or not. Personal mobile devices have a faster adoption rate than fire had in ancient times. It’s almost impossible to believe that the iPad launched just three years ago, it has already had such a sweeping impact on personal and professional use of technology.

While most businesses initially had policies which prohibited or discouraged use of personal devices on business networks, many acknowledge  that such control is fleeting … Continue Reading

The Cloud Transition Pathway

Pathway_Narrow_blogI recently wrote about our philosophy of “your cloud” vs. “the cloud” and why we think this is important. I’ve spoken with a number of our customers about this over the past several months, and this seems to resound with nearly all of them. The gist of this is that, instead of thinking of “the cloud” as something that’s “out there” that you’re going to “migrate into”, instead consider that you’re building “your cloud”, which is just another name for your “future state IT ecosystem”. This has some combination … Continue Reading

The Cloud doesn’t matter… Your Cloud does.

IT is in a transitional state.

Virtualization, platform standardization, and ubiquitous connectivity are having a tremendous impact on how services are provisioned and delivered. The “consumerization” of IT has inflated user expectations; users feel they should be able to access any data or any application, from any device, anywhere, at any time. They also expect consistent performance and continuous availability. Meanwhile, regulatory requirements have increased in number and complexity. Sensitive data must be effectively governed and controlled to meet these requirements. The CIO is constantly pressed to deliver the services and service levels demanded by the business, while economic drivers ensure … Continue Reading