Does your data centre infrastructure support workplace transformation?
Today, the consequences of such a lack of planning can be devastating. For today’s business, it has never been more important to be agile, nimble, and responsive. It is said that from a competitive standpoint, there are the disruptors and the disrupted. A business can face competition from a company which may not have existed five years ago, and which doesn’t even have bricks and mortar premises. Banks today are closing branch offices and converting staff to contract employees to allow them to shrink and grow their staff at will. This is in direct response to online-only banks who don’t charge annual fees and who reimburse ATM fees when customers use other banks’ ATMs.
From a data centre perspective, there is a lot that can be done to improve attributes such as agility, scalability, reliability, flexibility, ease of operations, and cost. These are the very attributes that can determine whether a business is a disruptor or the disrupted.
A Short History of Infrastructure
Traditional data centres consist of various pieces of hardware acquired to support the compute, storage and network requirements of specific applications. With this model, businesses must buy additional hardware and other upgrades to scale up their storage and other services to support more users or greater data volumes. IT resources and bandwidth are required to support and maintain this environment. Traditional data centres are often slow to change or modernise because there is so much invested in the status quo, and the major applications may require years to rewrite.
In this environment, IT is often a captive to the needs of legacy systems. Between the requirement to provide specific infrastructure – specific OS, specific kinds of storage – to support the legacy application, and the need to upgrade and maintain the applications themselves, IT must dedicate a large part of their budget and resources to support legacy systems. The other major draw on IT resources is the need to oversee the requests, approvals, procurement, deployment, support, refreshes and disposals of the fleet of devices for the business. This can be addressed through outsourcing these functions to a Device-as-a-Service managed service.
New options for Infrastructure
There have been two developments in infrastructure that dramatically improve the options available for modernising the data centre, and to support IT’s ability to innovate and support business growth.
- Cloud computing
- Workloads which run in the cloud are evenly distributed across all the servers and are therefore more resilient because the loss of a server does not result in data loss or downtime
- The on-demand virtual space of cloud computing has unlimited storage space and more server resources. Cloud servers can scale up or down depending on workload, and you have full control to install any software as and when you need to. This provides more flexibility for your business to grow.
- Cloud computing is managed by the provider, often using advanced automation tools, and strong service management processes using ITIL methodologies
- Security for cloud resources is provided by the vendor and is, at minimum and through economies of scale, equal to the best security available in data centres. Additionally, hosted private cloud providers can partition off each customers’ data in their data centre.
- Composable Infrastructure
- Composable infrastructure is an on-premise (as well as cloud) infrastructure option that brings together compute, storage and network into one platform
- It integrates a software-defined intelligence and a unified API to compose “fluid” resource pools in minutes
- It enables a business to create the infrastructure they need when they need it, and enables an agility to thrive in a highly competitive environment
- It enables IT organisations to create the infrastructure they need with incredible speed – a combination of server, storage and network resources can be created from a template in minutes
- Composable is very supportive of DevOps approaches to rapid application development and responsiveness to business challenges
Driving Data Centre Change
Data Centre changes are being driven from the need to be agile and responsive, to operate with speed, to reduce cost. The combination of migrating legacy applications to hosted private cloud providers and to replace legacy infrastructure with new technologies such as composable infrastructure can rapidly transform the ability of the business to innovate and execute in the new post-digital world.
You can view the composable concept as a way for internal IT departments to provision workloads just as quickly and efficiently as public cloud service providers can, while still maintaining control over the infrastructure that supports mission-critical applications in a private cloud setting. The combination of on-premise composable and hosted private cloud – plus perhaps also public cloud – is referred to as hybrid cloud.
A 2017 Harvard Business Review survey outlined the main business drivers behind hybrid cloud adoption. They include:
- Business agility
- Reduced costs
- Better security management
- Greater ability to act on and share data
- An overall better user experience
The survey also indicated small to medium-sized businesses claim greater gains from hybrid cloud adoption than larger companies.
Please contact us here at Counterparts Technology for a conversation about cloud, composable and transforming your data centre experience.