Infrastructure Optimization, realising a secure well managed infrastructure while driving down costs.


The concept of Infrastructure Optimization is one that is complex and challenging to any organization.  While technology is a major part of the maturity of IO and its supporting capabilities, there are also 2 other areas an organization needs to contend with in order to truly realize the benefits of infrastructure maturity.  These are people and process.  These 3 areas combined make for an environment that is not only secure and well managed but efficient, cost effective and productive for the user community.
The
core model that Microsoft has developed is primarily made up of 5 capabilities.  These are:


·         Identity and Access management


·         Desktop Server and Device Management


·         Security and Networking


·         Data Protection and Recovery


·         IT and Security Process


Within these capabilities we define 4 maturity levels – Basic, Standardized, Rationalized and Dynamic.  In order to move in maturity ‘definition’ from one level to the next, for example –  Basic to Standardized, all 5 capabilities have to mature.  In the Core IO model, this is a necessity because of the nature in which the capabilities are inter-connected.  For example, the Identity and Access Management capability cannot mature without the Desktop Server and Device Management capability also maturing.  Likewise, Security and Networking has dependencies on other areas also advancing.   The technologies are interconnected.


There are some areas of IO that simply on their own can bring benefit to an organization, for example client level – like Windows XP SP2.  By itself, this current level of client has advantages, enhancements and abilities above and beyond Windows 2000 as well as NT4.  If, however, this client is deployed into a secure well managed environment, combined with Active Directory, Group Policy usage, as well as a Management tool like Systems Management Server (now referred to as SMS R2 and as SMS V4 or  System Center Configuration Manager) the costs are rapidly reduced.  This well managed environment provides the ability to benefit from the current client features, but when combined with a current back end infrastructure of identity management and configuration management, significant cost savings are realized at the same time as operational enhancements.   


Infrastructure Optimization is about improving all areas of an organizations’ IT processes.  These improvements lead to strong integration with business process, and can lead to in some cases competitive advantages (based on business verticals).  A large part of this  is the client.  The desktop operating system is a summary experience for the entire backend system, whether it be a desktop wired to the corporate network, a tablet or laptop roaming the wireless on a corporate campus, or a remote sales force team member who rarely connects to the main network.  The state, configuration, application level and stability of the hardware used is directly affected by the entire infrastructure.  From the level of OS configuration, to the application layer deployed, to the explicit targeting to that device that may occur for patching, all of these are affected by the maturity level of the technology adopted, the processes both end user and IT support staff employ in operations, and the current abilities of the IT staff all play a large part in the experience.


Through this blog we hope to communicate, connect and learn how users of Microsoft technology are enabling their business through infrastructure maturity.  The IO Team are looking forward to talking with you about Infrastructure Optimization, and to start, I would like to highly recommend you take a read of a new white paper we have released about the benefits of Infrastructure maturity. 


This paper presents the results of surveys and analysis conducted during 2005 at 14 private enterprises that used best practices and management software technologies to optimize their organization’s IT infrastructure and reduce PC management costs. Results of this study indicate a direct correlation between the number of best practices adopted, the management technologies used, and the reduction of PC-related labor costs.


We look forward to hearing from you.


Kind regards
Jeff Wettlaufer
Technical Lead, Infrastructure Optimization


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