Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

New year, new data centre demands

January 27, 2017

With 2017 well underway you may be feeling a little less than agile as you look to redress the excesses of the festive season.

You could also be forgiven for thinking much of 2016 played out in some kind of surreal parallel universe.

Change is a constant. Ballots aside however, it doesn’t typically occur over night. But in the world of IT, it can feel that way.

Business leaders have expressed concern over the speed of technology change and the impact it will have on their industries.

Roots in the cloud

Cloud computing and the digitisation of everything are chief among the agents of change. In addition to disrupting the commercial status quo, they’ve placed the spotlight on the role of traditional data centres and those who manage them.

The relevance of on-premises systems and specialists in the cloud paradigm is also being called into question. Yet the roots of data centre modernisation were sprouted in the cloud.

The cloud opened everyone’s eyes to the possibilities that greater agility, automation, efficiency and simplicity bring. These attributes have been pulled into the data centre so although it still possesses the crown jewels, it has become more open and connected with three waves of evolution.

The first wave of evolution began a decade ago, with apps and workloads based on bare metal servers, located on premises and managed by IT.

Then we saw the virtualisation of apps and infrastructure. This allowed workloads to be hosted off premises as managed services.

Today we have the move en masse to the cloud, as well as hybrid and cloud native platforms where apps are born in the cloud.

Modernisation challenges

If you consider the evolution of the data centre in the context of cloud strategy and digital transformation, it presents three core challenges.

First, there’s the question of choosing the best location for an app – on premises, off premises, collocated or cloud? In a public cloud environment, a private one, or hybrid? Should you build, buy or rent infrastructure? Should you re-write the app, modify it or simply choose software as a service?

Next there’s the challenge of ensuring agility. It takes 20 seconds to swipe a credit card and get virtual machines from a public cloud. It can take between 4-6 weeks for IT to stand up infrastructure for a new app.

Little wonder line of business buyers and developers opt for public cloud. But this could mean more cost for the business in the long term, less control and less security and governance.

Shadow IT is a big worry for IT because the fundamental job of keeping users, apps and businesses out of trouble lies squarely with them!

Finally, there’s the ever-present challenge of security. Data is distributed and you have non-IT personnel managing infrastructure resources.

Four foundational pillars

Data centres and IT teams are more relevant than ever in today’s cloud paradigm because they are essential to addressing the challenges that cloud and digital transformation bring.

There’s been a massive increase in the number of applications, devices and endpoints to be secured and managed. There’s a need to find the best blend of cloud platforms that’s right for your business. And there’s a need to find the right path to deliver on your IT vision.

All of this starts with a next generation data centre.

One that’s built on four foundational pillars and what we call ‘ASAP’:

  • Analyse to monitor 100% of applications and infrastructure in real time to stay in complete control
  • Simplify to be more productive with less effort and allow staff to become more forward looking
  • Automate to become more agile and cost-efficient in responding to the needs of the business
  • Protect to ensure security is integrated at every layer and across a wide ecosystem to minimise the threat of security breaches

With these four pillars in place, you can manage legacy workloads residing in traditional data centres as well as workloads running in private and public clouds.

Integrate all four pillars seamlessly and you turn your data centre into a true engine of transformation: Real-time analytics shared across a simple, converged platform allow you to automate operations and inform security.

Ultimately, an ASAP data centre provides you with the agility and simplicity of a public cloud, with the security, control and governance of an on-premise data centre.

In other words, you can have your head in the clouds, but achieve your business aspirations and IT vision with your feet planted firmly in your data centre.



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