2016 for Indian enterprise may be defined as the year of optimizing infrastructure and operations budgets. Optimization is primarily driven with an objective to create next-generation data center architecture that can support the ever-increasing challenges of digital business.

Data Center Comparison – Evolution from the Traditional to the Next Generation Data centers are no longer simply constrained by four walls. Increasingly, they are a dynamic collection of cloud and non-cloud resources that reside in multiple physical locations and have the automation and intelligence to go where they are needed to process applications efficiently. This is where the next-generation data center begins. It is an IT environment that is simplified, adaptive and responsive, one that allows IT to shift time and attention from maintaining systems to innovating business solutions. It is a composite of capabilities designed for a fast-moving world:

  • Software-defined environment in which IT resources are orchestrated dynamically and holistically, able to sense and respond to application demands in real time
  • Hybrid environment where private and public clouds operate seamlessly with traditional systems
  • Continuously available environment able to withstand component failures and maintain operations
  • Cognitive computing environment where systems can learn and solve business problems using advanced analytics
  • Global, managed ecosystem that integrates the elements of the IT and data center physical infrastructure and provides uniform management through a single console

The fast-changing business and IT landscape is driving the need for the next-generation data center. New opportunities cannot wait for resources to be manually procured and configured. Response needs to be immediate and spot-on to meet increasing expectations for availability, scalability, and speed. While virtualization and cloud-based delivery models have answered the need for greater agility, they have also increased management complexity and costs. What is more, the majority of IT provisioning and management tools are labor-intensive and increasingly unable to cope efficiently with the extreme performance demands of today's application workloads. The speed at which the DevOps model is delivering new capabilities and updates is making manual IT operational inefficiencies even more glaring. And despite organizations' best efforts to curb them, outages are on the rise, shining the spotlight on security, resiliency, and compliance issues. Clearly, the demand for more flexible, "always-on" architectures is mounting, advanced by the dynamic needs of mobility, big data, and social business. These workloads are raising the stakes for today's data centers and increasing the urgency of the need for the next-generation data center.

Industry Speak

The New Phase in Data Center Innovation- IoT and Big Data

Amod Ranade, General Manager-Data Center Business Development, IT Business, Schneider Electric"The Internet of Things (IoT) is making waves every day in the technological sphere. Gartner describes IoT as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. With IoT gaining momentum, the number of devices projected to be connected by 2020 is estimated to range from 20 to 50 billion devices. The increasing number of devices implies larger data volumes to be stored, analyzed, accessed, and secured which in turn requires an evolved data center structure.

In the past, focus was on improving the management of one data center facility. Today, the emerging ecosystem of hybrid cloud computing has shifted the management of the infrastructure into a process of managing multiple facilities with virtualized environments. The next wave of change will be driven by the need for connectivity and technology to enable data center managers to effectively manage these complex environments. It is essential for data center owners and managers to be aware of the trends in the data center arena.

With an increase in varying customer demands, companies need to construct reliable and flexible data center designs in the form of modular solutions. Information is now being processed and uploaded in the cloud, making data centers more diverse and well connected. This calls for datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) tools making it crucial to ensure data center reliability and efficiency. Handling Big Data adds to the stress and operating costs of data centers, with the need to build stable and resilient infrastructure to face possible downtime. Customers are always concerned about having immediate vendor support in similar such instances, calling for the need for a data center lifecycle approach to design and manage datacenters. Data center lifecycle digital services like remote monitoring and facility management will soon gain traction and help companies to be better prepared without giving up on efficiency and reliability."

Amod Ranade
General Manager-Data Centre Business Development, IT Business,
Schneider Electric

So what makes a data center a next-generation data center? In short, it is the ability to remove many of the barriers that have inhibited IT to date. The next-generation data center provides a simpler, more adaptive infrastructure that is capable of responding to disruptive change, melting technology silos, and integrating legacy and new architectures in a single, manageable ecosystem. Several attributes help define this visionary model and distinguish it from its predecessors:

  • Innovation enabled by service optimization
  • Software-defined environment, driven by patterns of expertise
  • Open standards and support for heterogeneous infrastructures
  • Delivery model integration and extensible APIs
  • ITIL-based management and outcome-based metrics
  • Global ecosystem supported by a converged infrastructure and data center infrastructure management (DCIM)
  • Continuous availability
  • Cognitive computing
  • Integrated, active end-to-end security and automated compliance assurance
  • Organizational and cultural change agent

The next-generation data center represents the next evolution of the converging IT infrastructure, where server, storage, network, and virtualization resources are abstracted from the underlying hardware and workloads run on the most appropriate combination of resources, whatever they may be. In this environment, software provides the intelligence for managing the infrastructure dynamically and holistically, based on real-time workload needs. The next-generation data center transforms a static IT infrastructure into a dynamic, workload-aware infrastructure that can anticipate demands and respond with incredible speed.

Becoming a next-generation data center requires change, not just in the physical and operational aspects of the data center, but also organizationally and culturally. The evolution from hardware-centric thinking to service optimization is critical. Organizations that want to speed the transformation will choose software-defined solutions that come fully integrated and ready to orchestrate the entire IT environment. Those that succeed will be opened up to new ways of working and innovating - above the hardware - making it easy to operate in a hybrid environment, speed the development of portable applications, and capitalize on rapidly evolving cloud, mobile, social, and analytic technologies.

Based on a white paper by IBM Global Technology Services


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