Maximize your resources’ utility

In the previous week, I covered security as a skill to take your IT career to the next level. This week, I’ll walk through optimization as another high value add skill in the virtual environment. To truly appreciate the importance of optimization, you have to understand the blood, sweat and tears that one endures when gaining optimization wisdom.


Optimization: More than meets the I → T

Optimization is a skill that requires a clear end-goal in mind. Optimization focuses on understanding the interactions of the IT ecosystem, the behavior of the application stack, and the inter-dependencies of systems inside and outside their sphere of influence in order to deliver success in business objectives.


If one were to look at optimization from a theoretical perspective, each optimization exercise would be a mathematical equation with multi-variables. Think multivariate calculus as an IT pro tries to find the maximum performance as other variables change with respect to one another.


I’m positive that Professor sqlrockstar could lead us through a database optimization course leveraging multivariate calculus to analyze the deterministic SQL systems with N-degrees of freedom. Meanwhile, I could leverage my ECE background and lead a discussion on applied control systems theory and its application to optimize performance in your dynamic, virtual data centers. This begs the question: is calculus knowledge required to optimize your virtual environment? The answer is no. While it may help to formulate theories and visualize the overall concepts, IT is all about keeping IT stupid simple. That should be the IT ideal after all.


Optimizing for everything is really optimizing for nothing

Optimization is a skill forged from focus tuning to achieve a desired end-goal. As such, the one trap that all IT pros should avoid is trying to do too much. Optimizing for everything and everyone more often than not ends up in disappointment as the optimization efforts end up making the Quality-of-Service worse for everyone involved.


To avoid such pitfalls, have a simple optimization plan. Prioritize your most important deliverable as defined by all the stakeholders. Optimize with that deliverable as the focal point. Understand the behavior and relationship of change as it pertains to your optimization goal. And if additional optimization tasks are appended to the original task, communicate the risks clearly and concisely. And understand that sometimes, there is no convincing an IT executive looking to make their mark, even at the expense of their direct reports.



Optimization is a high reward skill that builds upon the DART skills framework. It seeks to maximize the utility of IT resources as it delivers the best in class Quality-of-Service to end users. Next week, I’ll discuss the Automation skill, another of the SOAR skills that virtualization admins need to take flight in their careers.