Henry Ford once famously said of his incredibly successful Model T that a customer could have their car painted any color – as long as that color was black.  What’s not quite so famous is why Ford said this.

The Model T was introduced in 1908.  Model T’s were available in other colors at that time.  It wasn’t until after 1914, after Ford introduced assembly lines into his plants, that black became the only color available.  The reason that Ford mandated that Model T’s be available in only black was that  black paint dried more quickly.  The impact of automation on the Model T was enormous – assembly time improved from 12 hours and eight minutes to one hour and 33 minutes – and reduced prices from $825 at the time of introduction to $260 in 1924.

Automation can often be seen as the enemy of adaptability and agility.  And automation is incredibly important – it’s the foundation upon which IT will be able to handle the explosion in virtual and physical servers and data.  But in an IT age in which BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and rapidly shifting business and technological changes buffet IT, it’s critical that automation be balanced with agility and adaptability.

Or to put it more simply: it’s all about the user and customer – balancing costs with benefit.  Shift too far toward either extreme, and you end up with dissatisfied users and customers – and worse, you can end up looking for a new job.

This is part 8 of an on-going series.  Part 1: virtualization isn’t the next big thing (NBT) because it was the last big thing (LBT); part 2: data center IP traffic growth; part 3: data center IP traffic sources; part 4: cloud workloads; part 5: large data centers and administrator to server ratios; part 6: strategy overview – adapt or be crushed; part 7: automation, agility, adaptability.

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