Question

How can companies work to achieve a desired state?

Answer

A desired state in IT is a term for a kind of network equilibrium – in a desired state, everything is aligned as perfectly as possible, to support both full application performance and full network efficiency.

Obviously, this desired state is rather theoretical, and companies approach it by degrees. It also rests on a manifold and tentative balance between various factors.

The desired state, which is a dynamic state always changing over time, balances issues like cost with issues like network latency. There is a conflict between budget and optimal performance. Resources like CPU and memory have to be distributed to minimize things like latency and high CPU wait times.

One way to think of this conflict is “resources versus problems.” Administrators need to allocate resources correctly to handle problems like latency. But again, because the system is in a dynamic state, there is no one-size-fits-all or comprehensive solution.

For example, analysis of network peak times will reveal that in many cases, there’s a big difference between a desired state at peak time, and a desired state on any given average. Cloud technologies and other advances have made it much easier for companies to scale up or down in real time, but issues with peak time workloads still exist and have to be dealt with. There is also the issue of business priorities and multiple stakeholders – even with a clear road map to a desired state, buy-in and stakeholder conflict can be significant barriers.

In general, companies work toward a desired state by putting in place methods, policies and even software that will make moves towards solving the desired state problem. The principle of network abstraction and the idea of software-driven control are both helping to redefine what it means to move toward the desired state. In addition, the use of autonomic platform and system resources is helping companies to make more headway toward the desired state.

Experts talk about “solving for the desired state” the way mathematicians would solve a mathematical equation. However, because of the dynamic nature of IT systems, the answer to the equation will always be changing. That’s why having advanced support tools is so important, and why it takes an immense amount of network observation and monitoring to effect the kinds of progress that companies make toward a desired state overall.

Justin Stoltzfus

Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…