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Complexity: The Main Obstacle to IT Infrastructure Management

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Why should you be concerned about complexity in the IT infrastructure of your business? If you can't control the myriad dependencies within your infrastructure, you can't balance value and cost, says Michael Hawkins.
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Today more than ever, IT professionals are forced to operate in a complex business environment in which success is no longer determined by a single factor, such as getting the best computer system or having the right technical skills. Now, complexity is the norm—and every aspect of the environment is becoming more complex. This article discusses the relationships between complexity, dependencies, and control; identifies six key areas of complexity; and provides a short introduction to cost of ownership.

Dependencies and Control

Today, even small IT environments have many interrelated components. Complexity arises from the interdependencies among these components, which increase exponentially as you add hardware and software to your IT architectures (servers, networks, storage systems, and management systems); upgrade facilities; and expand the scope of processes and organizational structures.

Management and control become business-critical issues as the IT environment becomes more complex. With millions of interdependencies, many are difficult to identify, some are difficult to understand, and others are outside our domain of control. IT infrastructure management is a formidable undertaking if we can't understand and control the interdependencies.

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