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This chapter described some of the many significant 1990s IT advancements that had a major influence on the disciplines of systems management. The trend to centralize back and optimize forward the corporate computer centers of the new millennium led to highly automated data centers. This emphasis on automation led to increased scrutiny of the physical infrastructure of data centers, which in turn led to a valuable overhaul of facilities management. As a result, most major computer centers have never been more reliable in availability, nor more responsive in performance. Most have never been more functional in design nor more efficient in operation.

The 1990s saw the explosive global growth of the Internet. The widespread use of cyberspace led to improvements in network security and capacity planning. Midrange computers and client-server platforms moved closer toward each other technology-wise and pushed forward the envelope of enterprise-wide storage management. The popularity of Unix as the operating system of choice for servers, particularly application and database servers, continued to swell during this decade. IBM adapted its mainframe architecture to reflect the popularity of Unix and the Internet.

PCs proliferated at ever increasing rates, both in numbers sold and in the variety of models offered. Client PCs of all sizes were now offered as thin, fat, laptop, palmtop, or even thumbtop. The interconnection of all these PCs with each other and with their servers caused capacity planning and availability for networks to improve as well.

The final decade of the second millennium concluded with a flurry of activity surrounding the seemingly omnipresent millennium bug. As most reputable IT observers correctly predicted, the problem was sufficiently addressed and resolved for most business applications months ahead of the year 2000. The domestic and global impacts of the millennium bug have been relatively negligible to date. The vast efforts expended in mitigating the impact of Y2K did help to refine both the production acceptance and the change management functions of systems management.

This chapter concludes the first part of this book, which presented a unique historical perspective of some of the major IT developments that took place during the latter half of the 20th Century and that had major influence on initiating or refining the disciplines of systems management. Table 3-1 summarized a timeline for the 12 functions that are described in detail in Part 3. But first, we'll look at some of the key people issues involved with effectively implementing the functions of systems management.

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