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Optimization - we’ve all heard this term a million times.  Without a doubt, it is a term that is used during company meetings, in the analyst community, and is, of course, a favorite topic to “pick on” for technology cartoons. In the technology sector IT optimization “carries the day”.  But, even then, “IT optimization” is a term that is often so overused that we all think we know what it is... but do we really?

My name is Pallavi Ravishankar and I started at Red Hat as an intern in the summer of 2017, where I had the time of my life working on collaborative projects and learning what it means to be and to work for an open source company. In fact, you can read all about my Red Hat story here.

Many seasons later, I now work on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux team as a product manager and I’m writing to talk about (IT optimization and) the social event of the season: Red Hat Summit 2018! While at Summit, I plan to spend most of my time in the Red Hat booth - talking to folks about… you guessed it: IT optimization!

At Red Hat, as purveyors of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, we know a thing or two about IT optimization. But, I wondered, what does the Internet “at large” have to say about the concept? Sadly, my quick search only yielded a handful of articles from various analyst organizations. While I was now one click away from learning “the 7 steps to optimize my IT infrastructure” (#clickbait) I wasn’t any closer to feeling confident that the Internet was home to an authoritative repository of useful data on IT optimization. That’s when, in the back of my mind, I overheard someone saying - “...those who don’t learn from the past ….”, which got me thinking, maybe I need to “go back to the future” to fully understand the present!

Beep Beep Boop Bop! The year was 2001, gas was $1.46 per gallon, the first Harry Potter film had just released, and the IT spending average, pan industry was 3.5% of a given organization’s total budget. Fast forward to 2018, Gartner estimates that global IT spending will hit $3.7 trillion dollars. So how do IT organizations spend all of this money?  In broad strokes, some of this money is spent maintaining existing infrastructure and the rest is allocated to new projects or innovation.  Finding the right balance via IT optimization is critical in terms of transforming IT from a cog in the machine to an engine that drives the whole business!

Now what is IT optimization? If you have a car, you know that it requires maintenance and upgrades over time - especially if you don’t want it to break down when you are on your way to get in line for the annual Comic Con. Turns out, IT infrastructure is similar. Just as your car engine is tuned to give you the best performance, your IT infrastructure needs to be tuned, maintained, and upgraded in order for you to continuously derive the maximum value out of it. Just as your engine needs to be stable and reliable, IT infrastructure has to be stable to support all of your applications and reliable and available so as to handle the multitude of users who access it - all so that your business can benefit from minimized downtime. On the other hand, your infrastructure also needs to be poised to accommodate new trends. You don’t want to be driving that old gas guzzling station wagon, when your competitor is driving around in a a swanky and efficient Tesla. This near continuous process of pivoting your infrastructure to function at its maximum potential and maintaining a position where your infrastructure is always “ready” to embrace and incorporate new technologies - this is called IT optimization.

So, how can Red help?

It is a two part solution (with many more in between, but let’s stick to the basics).  The first step is to “optimize”. This prepares you for the second step which is to “innovate”.  And while the process of optimization is more continuous and less binary - there are discrete steps that you can take (today).

Essentially, think of it as taking your car to the mechanic. Just as the mechanic will change the oil, replace the spark plugs and fix your dents, Red Hat can be your partner that will help you optimize your existing infrastructure so that your business gains efficiency.  We can help you reduce your IT spending, be compliant with the latest security standards, support traditional (and alternative) architectures, and prepare for the technologies and platforms of tomorrow.

But, you might ask should I start?  Well, there’s no “right” answer. Starting might involve modernizing your operating platform or modernizing your approach to virtualization, then again, it might involve optimizing your storage, revamping your cloud strategy and/or embracing a new management solution; again, “where to start” depends a lot on your environment and what you’re hoping to achieve.

In the following weeks, leading up to Red Hat Summit, my plan is to explore each of these approaches and tell you more about the various Red Hat products and solutions that can help you optimize your IT infrastructure.

And, if you are among the lucky ones who are joining us for Red Hat Summit 2018 in San Francisco, do come visit me and my colleagues in the Red Hat booth! I would love to share what I’ve learned in person! If you can’t make it to the “best” coast, don’t fret! Stay tuned and subscribe to this blog as we plan to share many of the demos and presentations happening at Summit!

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