The world is experiencing a top-to-bottom digital transformation that will impact virtually every aspect of business, from competitive capabilities to security exposure. Making that transformation requires the essential elements of a modern data center – and a solid plan with a trusted advisor to help set them into place.
Time is not on your side
The pace of change is accelerating, and If your organization still runs on a legacy data center, that means your old systems are falling behind faster, too. A rigid data center infrastructure simply can’t help you compete in a flexible, adaptive marketplace that’s doing business in exciting new ways.
The world around you is undergoing a digital transformation in how it consumes and applies technology – and if you don’t keep up, how soon before that world grows unrecognizable, and business goals become unreachable? Consider that by 2020:
- Enterprise data will double in volume every three months, and that pace will only accelerate. If you cannot process and leverage that growing mountain of information in real time, a competitor will come along who can.
- Three-quarters of the workforce will consist of digital natives who came of age with computing devices. Those talented professionals will be difficult to recruit and retain if all you can offer is lagging technology.
It’s time to embrace data center modernization
You’ve got to do something – because the one thing you cannot do is nothing. Your customers won’t stand for it – in fact, they might not remain customers for long if you cannot demonstrate compliance with their security standards for privacy and confidentiality to protect their privileged data. In fact, even the manufacturers of your aging technology won’t continue to nurse it along. For example, Microsoft is ending support for its 2008 Windows Server and SQL Server products in the coming months; after that, security patches and other support services will become prohibitively expensive.
In the new world of digital transformation, IT evolves from being merely systems of record-keeping to systems of active engagement, both internally and externally. The top priority of businesses today is to implement strategies that take advantage of the platform created by digital transformation: leveraging new technologies that others aren’t using, or using established technologies better. And, it entails doing these things in a way that reduces time to value for customers.
The four elements of the modern data center
Data center modernization starts with defining a business transformation plan that IT architects will use to develop a multi-cloud strategy to support business needs with faster, more dynamic resources. Every data center environment comes with its own unique set of demands. But, the requirements for modernization will almost always include these essential technologies:
Hybrid cloud – Cloud computing is the foundational architecture for the next-generation data center, and all data center infrastructures will become cloud computing infrastructures. Allocating workloads between public and private cloud gives businesses tremendous efficiency and flexibility. Multi-cloud architectures will require a uniform cloud management capability, so that IT architects can define the ideal set of clouds for their business needs.
- Automation – Setting up tasks to run by themselves without human intervention can significantly save time and expense. Building automation into data center processes and workflows (which can then be orchestrated to run automatically) produces a wealth of benefits, from improved consistency and reliability to streamlined processes and reduced IT costs.
- Containers – These standard units of software, in which code and dependencies are pre-packaged, enable apps to run faster and more reliably across computing environments. Container-based apps are infinitely easier to deploy regardless of whether the target environment is public cloud, on-prem data center or another destination.
- Software-defined networking and storage – A software-defined wide area network SD-WAN enables businesses to quickly and easily deploy a network anywhere they want. If you’re growing through an acquisition strategy, implementing an SD-WAN enables you to grant a newly acquired company immediate access to your applications and resources through a software-defined network. Additionally, software-defined storage uncouples storage resources from the underlying hardware platform, enabling greater flexibility and accelerated scalability. Deploying an easily updatable software-defined infrastructure reduces the risk of falling behind that comes with traditional data center hardware. You’re free to focus on non-IT business issues as you increase efficiency, reduce operational costs, and strengthen security.
Modernization starts with a solid business plan – and a trusted advisor
There’s no skipping Step One – setting concrete goals and objectives is absolutely imperative, and that direction must come from the top.
Too often, IT personnel are tasked with coming up with technology fixes to benefit the business, when in fact it should be C-level executives who define exactly what they want to accomplish. IT staff can then recommend infrastructure solutions that reflect those business objectives.
This is where a skilled technology consultant provides value, helping to navigate the myriad of technology options, and then implement an IT transformation in place, introducing it seamlessly into the legacy data center. For example, suppose the managers of an electric utility know they could conserve resources and free personnel from routine maintenance tasks to practice innovation through “smart grid” technology and automation – if only they had the wherewithal and expertise of the right advisor to implement those capabilities and more.
Data center architects today are designing infrastructures with more flexibility and dynamic capabilities, employing such technologies as virtualized servers as part of the continual process of transforming the data center for cloud computing. Through its assessment services, visionary workshops and other resources, ePlus helps businesses implement the four pillars of data center modernization, using proven solutions based on Intel® architecture:
- Modern servers powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, with advanced compute capabilities for data analytics, machine learning/deep learning, as well as scalability and built-in security.
- A new class of storage and memory for greater speed with Intel® Optane™ technology.
- Accelerated throughput for enhanced connectivity with 10/25/40 GbE Intel® Ethernet network adapters.
- Intel® technology for the data center is optimized to fully support the 2019 releases of Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server.
Time to act – before time’s up
Data center modernization is no longer optional – in fact, it’s becoming a matter of survival: by 2020 the lifespan of an S&P 500 will have shrunk to just nine years, a 60 percent drop from just seven years earlier as more once-thriving business fail to keep pace.
It’s not too late to develop your own data center modernization plan, establishing the four pillars of a flexible, cloud-based, software-defined infrastructure to match today’s customer expectations, and scale to tomorrow’s requirements.Best of all, you don’t have to go it alone: for more information about getting started on a smart strategy for data center modernization, contact your ePlus account executive.