Delivering against ‘Always-On’ expectations with Software-Defined infrastructure
Date: Thu, 05/21/2015 - 17:44 Source: By Bob Plumridge, CTO (EMEA), Hitachi Data Systems
Whether you’re a regular at IT industry events or if you closely follow the technology trade press, it’s likely that you will have seen a growing amount of attention around ‘software-defined X’ – X being any core infrastructure where the burden of deployment and management can be lifted by intelligent software
Bob Plumridge, CTO (EMEA), Hitachi Data Systems
Image credited to HDS
As enterprise IT infrastructure continues to grow in size and complexity, and as IT staff slowly drown in legacy applications and technologies, many IT leaders are exploring whether there is an alternative to making IT systems run seamlessly and efficiently.
We’re living in an ‘always-on’ age, where consumers, employees and business leaders alike expect 24/7 responsiveness and availability. Keeping an IT infrastructure performing at this level can be an uphill struggle, particularly as businesses are consuming more applications, storing more data and working faster than ever before. This can put a huge amount of pressure on hardware resources and IT staff. Adding more capacity to the problem can work, but it tends to be a short-term solution.
As a result, significant pressure is being felt by IT staff in particular who are expected to respond quickly in complex, high-scale environments, which may even be geographically dispersed, and get new services out to market faster. Combine all these factors, and the chance of mistakes being made is high, as is the likeliness of such mistakes having a significant impact on the business. With 39 per cent of IT outages caused by human error, and a further 29 per cent spent on tedious tasks, it’s easy to see why so many enterprises are turning to a software-defined infrastructure to ease the pain.
To gain an understanding of the business need for software-defined infrastructure, it makes sense to consider the traditional method of provisioning IT. Vendors sell a diverse array of products and solutions to businesses depending on the particular challenge the organisation is facing. In most enterprises, IT managers for particular areas – such as servers, storage and networks – are responsible for buying spot solutions. This typically results in IT infrastructure becoming a collection of disparate systems, from a range of suppliers, which work in silos to meet specific organisational objectives, and don’t function together.
IT leaders must then take the strain and integrate these various infrastructure elements which can be a time-consuming and thankless task. The infrastructure gets more complex and expensive to run, and as IDC suggests, many organisations spend around 80 per cent of their IT budgets simply trying to keep the lights on.
This is where software-defined infrastructure can really make a difference, enabling business to benefit from simplifying technology through automation, driving insight through better access to information and creating agility through abstraction by making fixed resources flexible. It essentially removes the heavy lifting and tedium of infrastructure management through the intelligent programming of software, helping IT staff to focus on the things that really matter.
Software-defined infrastructure is fundamentally IT-as-a-Service, where intelligent software automates and virtualises an IT environment – storage, networking and security – abstracting it away from hardware and delivering it as a service that creates economies of scale, significant cost reductions and efficiencies for business. It helps organisations to simplify IT and free data from traditional hardware and location constraints, making it more accessible for all existing and new analytics-driven workloads. It also improves information access through virtualised, hyper-connected and scale-out platforms that are built to accelerate the journey to ITaaS, through application-led, software-defined infrastructure.
Technology that helps businesses shift towards agility, automation and simplicity is key to adding value and helping businesses to remain competitive. A software-defined infrastructure can help businesses get there by reinvigorating and centrally managing legacy applications, delivering IT-as-a-service, and providing more services, and faster than ever before. Regardless of organisation size, every business can experience exceptional performance, security and flexibility, all delivered from a software-defined infrastructure.