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If you treat your hardware like a pet, you might be missing out on an opportunity to improve business results.
It’s the old “pets vs. cattle” metaphor. Data centers are full of devices that are often managed individually. Each server is treated like a pet: It gets a name, personal attention, and individual care. If things go poorly, IT is motivated to do anything to bring it back from the brink of death. That's not just a hardware issue. Proof-of-concept projects, for example, often become pets because the cool ideas are fueled by someone’s passion.
In contrast, a herd of cattle is treated as a single entity. If one in the herd goes away, you replace it with another one without heartbreak. That mindset has been adopted to explain the virtues of containers and virtualization.
The challenge with individual treatment is that it’s expensive, slow, and error-prone. It can impact IT’s ability to be agile, flexible, and efficient when managing a data center.
Do you have pets in your data center that are over- or underprovisioned? Should you?
Paul Muller explores the pets vs. cattle mindset with Dr. Neil B. MacDonald, vice president and general manager, HPE Synergy and BladeSystem, Hybrid IT Group, and Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Something to chew on: “People don’t put R&D into pet care, but they will if there is a commercial interest in creating a mentality that is repeatable, scalable, and uses technology,” says Gardner.
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