Change has always been a constant in IT. We used to know at least the direction that change was going in, but not anymore. How many servers do you have? What do they do? Previously, questions like these were easy to answer.You gave the most junior member of the sys admin team running shoes and a clipboard, and turned them loose in the data center to “count noses.” While servers did occasionally get forgotten, eventually somebody would stumble over the dust-covered box, follow the cables and bring the prodigal back into the fold.

Technology was equally predictable. Moore’s Law meant that every 18 months CPU speeds doubled. OS upgrades came at a pretty predictable pace. RAM and storage technologies also evolved along their own trajectories, but major discontinuities were rare. Today, however, it is quite a bit more complex. As Moore’s Law starts to show its limitations, evolution has continued, but in different directions. Today a server is no longer twice as fast in clock speed as what it replaces, and looks far more different from its predecessor than used to be the case.

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