Swapna Subramani: Cloud comes with many silver linings for IT strategies

Using technology as an advan­tage and cost-saver to the organisation should be the key strategy, writes Swapna Subramani of IDC in Dubai.

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Enterprises have had to continually reinvent their IT strategy to enable the evolution of business to speed up. The adoption of cloud, mobility, social media and big data is reshaping IT usage in organisations.

It has become almost mandatory for enterprises to use cloud services, be on some social media platform or to encourage employees to bring their own devices to work.

Adoption of these technologies is important for organisations to create efficiencies, understand market dynamics and reach out to customers in the most effective way. This has accelerated the rate of business change in organisations and led to a faster transformation of the data centre.

The hardware landscape of the region’s enterprises has transformed to adapt to the cloud. Gone are the days where a typical data centre would have multiple servers, storage, networks and other enclosures in a siloed and cluttered architecture. En­ter­prise data centres in the region have graduated, using virtualisation to consolidate. Virtualisation means that while the amount of hardware is reduced, more computing power is provided via virtual machines.

The rate of virtualisation in the region’s enterprises is high, nd growing. Apart from virtualisation, other innovations are changing the technology landscape. One technology fuelling rapid transformation in data centres is converged infrastructure. A converged system is a mini data centre in a box. These systems contain the four important pillars of a data centre: server, storage, networking and management software. Converged infrastructure provides all the essentials for running a data centre with the certification and service of a single vendor, and so ensuring ease of deployment and troubleshooting.

One of the main benefits of converged systems is effi­ciency as these systems are “tuned to task”. IDC expects the majority of computing power, applications and workloads to run on converged systems within five years.

Another cloud-enabling technology expected to become important in the region is the software-defined data centre. A software-defined data centre, as the name suggests, is where data centre-wide hardware re­sources such as storage, compute and network resources are all virtualiser, federated and managed through a unified software layer.

Software-defined technologies provide a centralised management layer enabling adequate support to the traditional infrastructure, legacy applications and cloud services.

Given the growing demands on infrastructure, vendors have been forced to innovate further in hardware. Hyper-convergence comes in the form of such disruptive innovation within the infrastructure space. Hyper-converged infrastructure essentially collapses core storage, computing and networking functions into a single software solution or appliance. This innovation combines the two recent disruptions in the infrastructure space: software-defined infrastructure and converged systems.

The adoption of cloud, social business and mobility has also resulted in exponential data growth within enterprises. Each technology comes with its own set of data-related challenges. While cloud comes with a dynamic storage requirement, mobility initiatives require real-time data management. ­Other industry trends, such as desktop virtualisation, have accelerated digitisation across various sectors, and technology such as video surveillance has accelerated the rate of data growth. As a result, the data centre storage space has also experienced evolutions in speed and agility with enterprise flash devices becoming more common.

There are a variety of options available to chief information officers, allowing them to gain maximum output and efficiencies at minimum cost. With data centres as the backbone of enterprise IT, ensuring a robust, scalable infrastructure will be pivotal to using IT as a business enabler within the organisation.

Swapna Subramani is research manager – enterprise infrastructure at the tech consultancy IDC in Dubai