Straight Talk about IT Infrastructure: What You Need to Know to ...
An Executive Brief Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Lynda Stadtmueller Vice President, Cloud Services January 2016 Straight Talk about IT Infrastructure: What You Need to Know to Maximize Business Value and Prepare Your Data Center for the Future Straight Talk about IT Infrastructure: What You Need to Know to Maximize Business Value and Prepare Your Data Center for the Future 2 2016 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. INTRODUCTION Its been a volatile year for the IT infrastructure market, as market leaders have made major organizational shifts in all directions. Newsworthy events include: IBM exited the x86 server business in mid-2015, selling the business unit to Chinese company Lenovo. x86 servers remain the predominate server technology in data centers worldwide; and IBMs decision to abandon the market in favor of higher-end systems left many enterprise customers feeling vulnerable. Where IBMs x86 sale signaled a dilution of its focus on providing an end-to-end solution for enterprise customers, Hewlett Packardthe leader in x86 serverstook an alternative tack. HP split into two companies: one focused on its printer and personal systems business; and the other, HP Enterprise (HPE), focusing on providing flexible, integrated hardware, software, and services for enterprises. More recently, the market has been abuzz with the news of two other IT giants, as Dell announced its plans to acquire EMC. Most news reports focus on the record size of the deal ($67B). Stratecast is skeptical that size alone will benefit customers. While Wall Street continues to assess the impact of the changes, many IT leaders are facing a more pressing decision: how to protect their current infrastructure investment while preparing their data centers for the future. In this analysis, we will cut through the dust swirling around the IT market to provide a clear look at how your data center infrastructure affects your ability to meet business goals; where your current data center may be vulnerable; and the best way to move forward with a technology partner. FOUR TRUTHS ABOUT DATA CENTER EVOLUTION It would be hard to overstate the scope and pace of disruptive technologies deluging the market, and the impact on enterprise IT leaders who are on the front lines of change. Even before businesses have had an opportunity to fully digest yesterdays new deployment models (virtualized data center, public cloud, SaaS), they have been served even newer, tastier approaches (software-defined data center, hybrid cloud, hyperconverged architectures, XaaS). For IT leaders tasked with building the optimal technology roadmap for business success, understanding how current and future market changes impact your data center infrastructure is essential. Here are four essential truths you can bank on: The private data center is not going away. As public clouds become more prevalent, some cloud service providers are encouraging business leaders to view private data centers as a lame ducka short-lived phenomenon that deserves only minimal investment. This belief is wrong and potentially harmful to your long term data center strategy. While cloud services play an important role in your technology strategy, it is as a complementnot replacementto the private data center. Most businesses already utilize a hybrid model, delivering data and applications to employees, customers, and partners worldwide via a range of enterprise-managed and hosted deployment options. It is not surprising that, in a recent Frost & Sullivan survey of IT decision-makers, businesses of all sizes and industries indicated that their private data centers house the majority of their workloads. Furthermore, as shown in the following chart, IT decision-makers intend to continue to invest in and optimize their current data centers.1 1 Statistics cited in this analysis are based on the 2015 Frost & Sullivan survey of 411 US-based IT decision-makers. No vendors sponsored or had access to the survey instrument or respondents. 3 Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan 2016 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. IT Decision-makers Plans to Increase Usage of Various Private Data Center Configurations The reasons for maintaining and growing on-premises workloads include: Compliance and security While cloud service providers continue to address security concerns, regulatory requirements and the companys own risk-management goals lead many enterprises to maintain their most sensitive data and workloads on-site. In the Frost & Sullivan survey, 79% of enterprises cited inability to meet compliance requirements in the cloud as driving a decision to maintain certain workloads on premises; with 80% citing concerns about unauthorized access to data and applications. Control over application performance In the shared environment of the cloud, businesses have less ability to make infrastructure adjustments that impact application performance and availability. High performance computing applications and those that consume considerable bandwidthsuch as data analyticsmay suffer from latency caused by contention for network and compute resources. Some 75% of the businesses surveyed by Frost & Sullivan cited loss of control, and 74% cited concerns over poor or inconsistent application performance as reasons not to move a workload to the cloud. Usage Cost While the public cloud is often associated with low cost, enterprises have discovered that certain workloads (especially those with consistent capacity usage or high data downloads) can be more economically run as on-premises instances. This is especially true when the workload utilizes existing hardware and software. Current investment 73% of survey respondents cited sunk investment in infrastructure and software licenses as driving the decision to keep an application on premises, and to maximize the return on investment for their prior expenditure. Difficulty cloudifying certain applications For applications that were not born in the cloud, the coding may make it difficult or impossible to transition into a cloud-friendly virtual machine. To recode an application that is working just fine may not make sense. In fact, in the Frost & Sullivan survey, 34%43%44%46%28%34%38%37%0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%OnPremisesTraditionalDataCenter(PhysicalServers)OnPremisesVirtualizedDataCenterSoftwareDefinedDataCenter(SDDC)OnPremisesPrivateCloudIncreasesignificantly(50%ormore) Increasesomewhat(lessthan50%)Source: Frost & Sullivan % of respondents Straight Talk about IT Infrastructure: What You Need to Know to Maximize Business Value and Prepare Your Data Center for the Future 4 2016 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. 74% of IT decision-makers said they have chosen to keep a critical application on-premises when they have determined that return on investment will not be sufficient to justify the initiative. For all these reasons, IT leaders should assume that they will be maintaining their private data center for the foreseeable futurewhich means you need to continue to make wise investments in the data center to be sure it is fully optimized and able to support your business plans. This necessitates that you leverage a partner with the requisite expertise. Hardware matters. As the industry increasingly focuses on software-defined functionality, IT employees may start to believe that hardware contributes marginally to data center operations. That can be a dangerous misperception. The truth is that hardware always has and always will form the critical foundationthe exoskeletonof any technology system. The choice of hardware and associated software elements, and the ability to configure and manage them, will have a significant impact on application performance, reliability, scalability, and security. To meet business needs for agile, cost-efficient, high performance applications going forward, you need to make sure your data center infrastructure can be continually optimized. This requires finely-tuned systems in which the physical infrastructure (servers, storage, networking) is integrated with a highly functional orchestration and management platform, and that it can scale easily over time, as your business drivers evolve. Hybrid IT is the future. No matter how far along your company is in its data center evolution, you can assume that your future will be hybridan environment that comprises hosted clouds and on-premises data center deployments, with physical and virtual servers. In Frost & Sullivans survey, 73% of IT decision-makers either currently operate a hybrid cloud environment or plan to implement one in the next two years. More to the point, 79% of respondents expect their hybrid cloud environments to operate under a common management and orchestration platform that enables workloads to be added, moved, replicated and restored, and scaled dynamically. To prepare for your companys escalating needs, you need to ensure that your hybrid IT infrastructure is open, scalable, and cost-efficient, with high levels of visibility. Legacy hardware (from multiple vendors) should be able to be managed alongside optimized systems until its time for refresh. Furthermore, on-premises infrastructure needs to be specifically designed to support cloud connectivity. A core recommendation would be to select a vendor with a track record of experience and innovation in delivering an integrated compute solution. The IT department is critical to business success. A final truth that IT leaders must keep in their sights is the changing role of the IT department. No longer a reactive supplier to the business (a cost center), enterprise IT departments are now considered strategic partners and revenue enablers, bringing expertise to bear to ensure achievement of business goals and outcomes. In selecting the appropriate delivery model or environment for a given technology solution, IT will be expected to consider cost, speed to deploy, security, and performance requirements. To keep pace with these escalating business needs, IT needs to deploy an infrastructure foundation that is built for agility in development and deployment, including support for DevOps frameworks. Furthermore, IT will require sophisticated management and orchestration platforms that provide a common view across various vendors equipment, with user-friendly visibility and reporting. 5 Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan 2016 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. EVOLVING YOUR DATA CENTER TO HELP YOUR BUSINESS SUCCEED As an IT leader, youve got two converging responsibilities when it comes to managing your infrastructure. First, you need to keep the equipment operational, to support your current applications and workloads. That means ensuring that systems are maintained, refreshed, and upgraded on schedule. Where possible, you need to leverage new technologies and capabilities to push the physical limits of your existing infrastructure, continually improving achievement of key performance metrics. Second, you need to simultaneously map out an infrastructure plan for the hybrid architecture of the futureone that supports new applications, workloads, access methods, development frameworks, and business processes. This infrastructure must deliver on a broad range of business objectives, with characteristics including: Agile including broad scalability and support for DevOps. Dynamic able to respond in real time to changes in business direction. Resilient including high availability and high Recovery Point/Recovery Time Objectives for backup and recovery. Secure and Compliant including data protection and access management. High-performance/High-productivity including fault tolerant data throughput with high transactions per second. Data-driven including analytics and visibility into IT performance metrics. Cost-effective delivering attractive total cost of ownership; not a cheap price, but rather, a high-value solution. The key to doing it all is to ensure that the investment decisions you make today will carry your business into the future. This way, you can move at your own pace to refresh or replace servers and equipment as needed, with infrastructure that is powerful and flexible enough to fit into your long-term transformation plan. Here is what to look for in choosing a flexible and powerful infrastructure system: Fully scalable A fully scalable system does not impose limitations on expansion, enabling you to scale your architecture both vertically (adding more processors and memory) and horizontally (adding more servers), without affecting performance. Broad range of server functionality Because your workloads have different needs, you need a system that offers a range of options, from basic to virtualized, to high performance mission-critical x86 servers; plus storage and networking, utilizing sophisticated converged systems optimized for specific workloads. Open standards-based cloud platform Open standards, particularly the widely accepted OpenStack infrastructure platform, offer your business the greatest flexibility for leveraging current and yet-to-be-developed technologies from multiple vendors. Choose a vendor that is a major contributor and leader in code, resources, training, and deployment of OpenStacknot just a plug-in player. Full range of integrated storage options A system that supports both flash and disk storage provides you with the best price-performance option for all your storage needs. A vendor with experience offering end-to-end solutions will help you deliver high value while maintaining flexibility. Straight Talk about IT Infrastructure: What You Need to Know to Maximize Business Value and Prepare Your Data Center for the Future 6 2016 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. Sophisticated management and orchestration platform Its difficult or impossible to manage a complex environment via disparate element managers. Instead, look for a broad platform that supports both existing and new equipment from multiple vendors. Focus on vendors with current management tools and roadmapsnot those tied to manager of manager and siloed hardware delivery mechanisms with no scale. API access to multiple clouds and services In the multi-cloud hybrid environment, you can try to build your own APIs to each providers services. Or, you can choose a vendor with the tools and infrastructure that does it for you, with a powerful API into the leading cloud services. CHOOSING AN IT PARTNER Its no exaggeration to say that your business survival depends on your technologyso, its important to have the right technology partner supporting you. In the Frost & Sullivan survey, fully 90% of IT decision-makers say they are or will turn to a third-party expert to help them develop and implement their data center strategy. Here is a checklist on what to look for in a partner to help you evolve your data center infrastructure: Full portfolio of integrated products, software, and services. You cant run your business in silos anymore; and neither should your technology partner. HPE is one of few vendors that has engineered its portfolio so that all products work together, to provide optimal performance. Support for multiple vendors products. Look for a partner that does not lock you in to its own equipment. The solution should allow you to continue using legacy hardware for as long as it suits your purpose. High-functionality management and orchestration platform, with user interfaces simple and granular enough for both line of business and IT users. HPEs OneView is cited by enterprise users as meeting such criteria. Open source cloud platform, to support on-premises private clouds, as well as compatibility with open-source public clouds. In a hybrid world, a strategy such as HPEs enables you to realize both flexibility and performance. Professional services to help you develop a cohesive strategy, as well as migrate your applications, and optimize your data center with proper planning and risk mitigation. Data center management services, to augment your own team, and ensure that your data center remains fully optimized. Flexible financing, including usage-based costs. Your provider should allow you to run your on-premises data center as cost-efficiently as a public cloud. For example, HPE offers a range of financing options and budget-friendly data center management services to help you optimize your investments. Long-term commitment to enterprise IT. As providers continually move in and out of the market, you are better off selecting a partner with a long history of market leadership in IT equipment, software, and services. To ensure you remain on the forefront of new technologies, also look for a track record of innovation as well as ongoing leadership. 7 Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan 2016 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. Lynda Stadtmueller Vice President Cloud Services Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org THE LAST WORD Enterprise IT leaders are coping with rapid and dramatic changes, not just in technology, but also and in the market itself, as vendors alter their market presence. This can leave IT leaders feeling vulnerable, as they attempt to simultaneously leverage their current infrastructure while fortifying the data center for tomorrows challenges. Succeeding in the fast-paced hybrid future will require an architecture that is flexible and open, powered by a management platform that is user-friendly and broad-scoped; and leveraging APIs that introduce access to a broad range of technologies. For many businesses, that means turning to HPE. In the Frost & Sullivan 2015 cloud survey, HPE emerged as the top hybrid cloud provider, cited as the preferred choice by 25% of all respondents. Top reasons included single pane of glass console to manage all components and visibility into infrastructure usage across components. The relentless pace of market change is not expected to abate. By turning to a market leader like HPE, as they evolve their data centers, businesses can feel confident that their data center infrastructure positions them well for success, no matter what the future brings. 877.GoFrost email@example.com http://www.frost.com ABOUT FROST & SULLIVAN Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break todays market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the Global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies? Contact Us: Start the Discussion For information regarding permission, write: Frost & Sullivan 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 Mountain View, CA 94041 ABOUT STRATECAST Stratecast collaborates with our clients to reach smart business decisions in the rapidly evolving and hyper-competitive Information and Communications Technology markets. Leveraging a mix of action-oriented subscription research and customized consulting engagements, Stratecast delivers knowledge and perspective that is only attainable through years of real-world experience in an industry where customers are collaborators; todays partners are tomorrows competitors; and agility and innovation are essential elements for success. Contact your Stratecast Account Executive to engage our experience to assist you in attaining your growth objectives. Silicon Valley 331 E. 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