Management Mantras

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When did management technology become so sexy?

Probably at about the same time companies started looking at their IT infrastructures as not just some costly capital expenditure but as something to help them gain a competitive advantage. At about the same time, they also realized those technology assets were in disarray.

It's no secret that most major vendors are changing their marketing messages to play to this mindset shift. After all, the on-demand computing movement is, in essence, a bid to bring order to the chaos of different applications, servers, desktops, networks and other devices that businesses have to manage.

HEATHER CLANCY Can be reached via e-mail at

On demand is really about reprovisioning servers on the fly when capacity is compromised or rerouting network traffic that should have bandwidth priority or allowing a wireless session to jump to the next available protocol as necessary to keep the connection. It's about flexibility that is transparent to the user. And it's next to impossible to pull off when you consider the current messy state of most IT infrastructure.

Little wonder that one of Computer Associates International's most significant disclosures last week at CA World was news about Sonar, an offshoot of its Unicenter technology that automatically maps a company's individual IT assets to its business processes,and prioritizes them accordingly. After all, rarely does a company retire an application,it just adds new ones to its bag of tricks. "In our industry, of course, nothing ever dies," said CA Chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar in his keynote address to show attendees last week.

When you look under the covers, Sun Microsystems' Project Orion platform vision also has management at its heart.

Orion's true value is that it brings "boring predictability" to upgrade cycles, patch deployments and the like, said Simon Phipps, chief technology evangelist at Sun. By enabling companies to budget for upgrades against the calendar, the vendor, of course, also hopes to win back market share.

Likewise, any solution provider that can offer its customers an acceptable level of infrastructure stability may actually find those same accounts willing to invest anew. And that, ultimately, is why any vendor with good management technology will find itself the object of the channel's affection.

What's your management mantra? HEATHER CLANCY, Editor at CRN, welcomes your comments and ideas at

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