Like other Gartner events, the Infrastructure and Operations (IO) show is all about enterprises maintaining systems. There are plenty of hype chasing sessions, but the vibe is distinctly around working systems and practical implementations. Think: sports coats not t-shirts. In that way, it’s less breathless and wild-eyed than something like KubeCon (which is busy celebrating a bumper crop of 1.0 projects). The very essence of this show is to project an aura of calm IT stewardship.
So what keeps these seasoned IT pros awake? Lack of cross-vendor Integration.
Terry Cosgrove of Gartner said this very clearly, “most components were not designed to work together.” This was not just a comment about the industry, but within vendor suites. In today’s acquisitive and agile market, there’s no expectation that even products from a single vendor will integrate smoothly. Why is integration so hard? We’re innovating so quickly that legacy APIs and new architectures don’t align well. For enterprises who cannot simply jump to the new-new thing, integrations drive considerable value.
Cosgrove went on to add that enterprises need to OWN the integrations – they can’t delegate that to vendors.
That advice resonated for me. We’re clearly in a best-of-breed IT environment where hybrid and portability concerns dominate discussions. This is not about vendor lock-in but innovation. That leads us back to the need for better integrations between products, platforms and projects. Customers need to start rejecting products without great, documented APIs; otherwise, there is no motivation for products to focus on integration over adding features.
Sadly, it was left to the audience to infer the “use dollars to force vendors to integrate” message.
There were many other topics of interest at the show. Here’s a very short synopsis of my favorites:
- Edge is coming and will be a big deal. We’re still having to explain what it is. Check back next summit (or listen to our great podcasts to get ahead of the curve).
- AI Ops is not really AI, it’s just smarter logging. We’ll get there eventually, but it will take some time.
- DevOps is still a thing and it’s still hard because of the culture change required. We’re slowly getting to a point where “DevOps = Automated Processes” and that’s OK. If you agree with that then you’ve missed the point of system thinking and lean. We’re done trying to explain it to you for now.
- No start-ups. Sadly, disruptive innovation is antithetical to this show and that may be OK. The audience counts on the analysts to filter this for them instead of getting raw.
In all these cases, it’s listener beware. There’s more behind the curtain that you are allowed to see.