In a recent webinar Storage Switzerland Founder, George Crump, and HDS CTO, Hu Yoshida, discussed 10 IT Trends for 2015. A theme of this list was the importance of “business-defined IT” and the specific technologies that are coming to support it. In this blog we’ll discuss those trends and what they mean for IT departments in 2015 and beyond.
Business-defined IT is a term used to describe a new focus in many companies to align IT with the objectives of their internal business “customers”. Instead of being facilitators that just provide access to data, business-defined IT organizations strive to be information consultants that help business line managers leverage that information to gain competitive advantage. To do this they need to evolve from information “plumbers” into information architects.
But even if IT wants to focus less on the hardware and software part of their business, companies still need infrastructure from which to run their applications. So how does IT make this change from just building and maintaining infrastructure and move up the information stack, so to speak? Ironically, it’s the infrastructure vendors that can help them get there.
Convergence and Hyper-convergence
Converged architectures are providing simpler ways to implement and manage the servers, storage and networking gear that still runs the company’s software. By bundling all the components into a single package, a complete stack can be installed and brought up in less than an hour, typically. These standard architectures are also easier to maintain, compared with traditional infrastructures where IT chooses each subsystem and does the integration itself.
Hyper-converged systems can offer another level of consolidation, by running the virtualization platform on the same server hardware that’s supporting a software-defined storage system. This can also provide more flexibility, enabling the user to configure the infrastructure to support specific workloads, and then reconfigure it when those workloads change. The net of these technologies should be more powerful and effective IT infrastructures that creates less overhead.
Part of this shift from infrastructure facilitator to information architect requires a focus on business outcomes. In this “end-game” strategy IT needs to work with business line users to help them achieve their desired goals, not just provide them with data. Several technologies can help IT in this effort.
Big Data and Data Lakes
Everyone’s talking about big data and the potential value that may lie in the data that companies are, and have been, collecting. These are often enormous unstructured data sets, creating storage and compute challenges that IT has been well aware of for quite some time. But the end users of this big data analytics are often unaware of the reality of manipulating what’s often hundreds of TBs of data.
This can be an opportunity for IT to help educate their internal customers while they support the data required by these analytics. Some of the currently available technologies, like RAID-less data architectures and erasure coding, can provide the foundation to handle these Data Lakes cost-effectively. Implementing an object-based storage solution can be a good strategy to leverage these technologies as well.
Public Clouds and Private Clouds
Another technology that IT can bring to bear is the cloud, specifically, public AND private clouds. Public clouds allow IT to outsource certain functions that don’t particularly add value to the organization and leverage the shrinking costs of cloud-based resources. For applications that are too sensitive or that IT needs to run internally, a private cloud can enable multi-site collaboration and consolidation, while keeping control of the company’s data.
Information is power and leveraging that information is becoming a priority for companies as they look for ways to gain business advantage. Business-defined IT is a way to get there and several technology trends are coming in 2015 that will help make that happen.
For more information on how these trends will affect your company and some compelling insight from Hitachi Data Systems’ CTO, Hu Yoshida and StorageSwiss Founder, George Crump, tune in to this on-demand webinar.