Every time I climb into my car, I’m stunned to observe the increased sprawl across the Seattle area. Seattle has always been a city of freeways. But over time, more roads have been built and more highways widened to accommodate the city’s non-stop growth. To the south, traffic jams now often stretch 35 miles all the way to the city of Tacoma. To the east, I-90 is often jammed from the early afternoon and well into the evening. I recently read in our local newspaper that the cost of congestion, which includes time loss and money spent on excess fuel, amounts to $1,056 per commuter.


As I slog through stop-and-go traffic on my way to work, it often occurs to me that our road system is a lot like the IT infrastructure of a large enterprise. As organizations have grown, their infrastructures have become increasingly costly and complex to manage. Business units are moving an ever-growing number of mission-critical systems applications into the data center and demanding that these applications be up and running around the clock. At the same time, social media, search engines, and mobile devices are contributing floods of new data for businesses to analyze.  Energy prices are rising, while regulatory compliance requirements are multiplying. To keep up, administrators are adding ever more servers, data storage, and networking devices, and then struggling to manage the “server sprawl” that ensues.

All of these pressures add up to increased costs at a time when the economy is slowing and many organizations are leaning on IT departments to tighten their budgets. Consider these facts:


  • Knowledge workers waste 25 percent of their time battling information overload, costing U.S. companies $900 billion a year.
  • Approximately 70 percent of IT budgets are spent maintaining siloed data centers.
  • Data centers will outpace the airline industry in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


Managing an increasingly complex infrastructure is a daunting challenge for nearly every IT leader, especially during a down economy. Yet the good news is that there is help.  Whether your company wants to improve efficiency by moving your data center to a private cloud, by migrating all of your workloads to a public cloud, or a little of both, we can design a cloud solution that meets your specific business needs. Because our solutions are built to work together—not as an isolated set of applications—they’ll help you make the most of your assets, while eliminating costly redundancies.


Imagine if we could rethink the last 50 years of highway development and design a more efficient infrastructure that leverages today’s transportation options. Given the money that’s already been invested, a complete redesign isn’t likely.  Yet we have a chance to plan smarter moving forward.  The cloud offers a similar opportunity for enterprises. Most will want to leverage their existing investments while utilizing today’s cutting-edge technology to plan a more efficient infrastructure for the future.  As Marc Silvester, senior vice president and Global CTO of Fujitsu puts it, “The challenge that customers face today is: how do I get an appropriate level of IT – of process and innovation – and how do I apply that to business today, and how do I make some money tomorrow?”


What factors have increased the cost and complexity of your infrastructure? And what measures has your organization taken to address these issues?  Please share your comments. Also, check out:  “Today’s cloud – on your terms, for your enterprise.”  It’s a short white paper that discusses Microsoft’s full range of cloud offerings.