Enabling Evergreen IT

Image: A CIO’s strategy for rethinking “messy BI”Technologies to create separation in the IT vertical stack and to automate IT operations form the basis for pursuing Evergreen IT.

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While most IT environments choke on costly and inflexible legacy systems, the on-demand, self-service offerings from external cloud computing providers promise agility, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. In the vision of the external cloud, IT organizations, corporate departments, and individuals gain push-button access to nearly unlimited computing, storage, and network capacity, all of it managed efficiently. Business-class applications are similarly on tap, configured-to-order, easy to access and use, and priced by the drink.


The goal is to transition IT operations from predominantly manual to predominantly automated processes driven by intelligent software. The result is an approach where incremental IT investment no longer creates legacy systems.

It’s enough to give even skeptical IT executives a case of cloud computing envy.
The vision that PwC calls Evergreen IT will give IT managers the best of both worlds: the security, control, and focus that legacy systems promised (if not always delivered) and the flexibility, ease of management, and cost-effectiveness of cloud computing.

The Evergreen IT vision is a pattern of IT provisioning, architecture, and operational management designed to deliver loose coupling between logically distinct layers of the IT stack. It is indeed inspired by, and will eventually use, external cloud providers. However, the goal of Evergreen IT is not cloud computing per se. The goal is to transition IT operations from predominantly manual to predominantly automated processes driven by intelligent software. The result is an approach where incremental IT investment no longer creates legacy systems. Instead, each layer of the IT stack can be continually refreshed without worrying about interdependencies between layers.


Figure 1: Evergreen IT results from the decoupling of the vertical stack and the automation of IT operations. Cloud computing technologies are enablers of the vision of Evergreen IT.

Figure 1: Evergreen IT results from the decoupling of the vertical stack and the automation of IT operations. Cloud computing technologies are enablers of the vision of Evergreen IT.

Two sets of technological advances are vital to this vision of Evergreen IT: the use of virtualization to decouple legacy IT’s largely customized technology stack, and the formalization and modeling of data center operations to facilitate automation. (See Figure 1.)

This article takes a close look at each set of technologies and how they contribute to Evergreen IT.

Related information

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