Data is the lifeblood of just about every modern-day digital business. According to Gartner’s worldwide IT spending forecast, funds allocated to data center systems are set to grow 2.6 percent in 2020, reaching a staggering $210 billion. And for businesses here in the US, it’s all about cloud-based solutions – we account for more than half of the total global spending on cloud.
For many, improving data center resource utilization means moving significant portions of workloads to the cloud. Agility, cost-reduction, and ease-of-use are just some of the benefits.
Some workloads, however, will always stay in traditional data centers. For example, big data use cases may simply have too much data for cloud solutions to be viable. Regulated industries, such as healthcare and finance, are also likely to retain on-premise data centers for the foreseeable future.
The good news: On-premise IT doesn’t have to be old-school. A whole host of next-generation virtualization tools are working to make the on-premise end-user experience feel like the cloud. Enterprises can essentially enjoy the best of both worlds – they can meet their regulatory requirements while improving resource utilization.
Next-Gen Data Center Is Converged
The modern company has distinct data storage requirements, and data center technology has evolved to meet changing demands.
Hyperconverged infrastructure – First, companies looking to improve the efficiency and resource utilization of their data centers looked to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). By eliminating standalone storage and compute layers, these new data centers removed complexity and enhanced usability. Enterprises could then run their data center off their preferred off-the-shelf hardware.
Standalone virtualization was, however, still necessary for companies to maximize HCI’s full potential.
Convergence of virtualization – Next, virtualization itself was converged. Enterprises didn’t have to work around the complexity of a proprietary hypervisor. Instead, they could select a hypervisor that would be built-in to the HCI stack. These native hypervisors offer better performance while cutting infrastructure costs and removing complexity.
Despite improvements, vendors were still treating tools for infrastructure management, networking, and automation orchestration as afterthoughts, forcing their customers to build and integrate their own bolt-on tools.
End-to-end virtual data center management – Today, enterprises have access to end-to-end virtual data center management, enabling them to reduce complex systems and multi-layer processes to a few simple clicks. These solutions essentially combine infrastructure management, storage management, networking, security, planning, automation, orchestration, performance monitoring, and more into one streamlined tool.
With significantly fewer moving parts, end-to-end virtual data center management saves operational costs and enhances user experience (in many instances, in a way that rivals cloud computing).
Improve Resource Utilization with a Converged Data Center
How does all this play out inside a business? How can a fully converged data center improve resource utilization and enhance efficiency?
On-premise solution with cloud experience – For businesses that aren’t subject to industry regulation and other data storage limitations, cloud-based data centers are often the most efficient solution. For businesses that are, multi-cloud options that connect cloud and on-premise infrastructure are a great choice. The problem is, teams that depend on legacy virtual data centers must manage two distinct environments: the simple cloud and the cumbersome on-premise.
Converged data centers provide an on-premise solution that feels a whole lot like using the cloud. It’s efficient and easy. The space between on-premise and cloud becomes smaller and smaller, so teams can effortlessly switch between workloads.
Cut operational costs – Time and budget are top priorities, and getting the most bang for the buck without sacrificing output is critical. If a team currently spends way too much time running a data center, it’s time to rethink how systems interoperate. Businesses can switch to a traditional virtual environment, but even then, software updates and integrations are time consuming. Native virtualization stacks can simplify things by streamlining the number of moving parts.
IT teams reroute their focus – Enterprises working with a legacy virtual environment often have a full-time team of specialized IT staff onboard. They spend the majority of their work hours ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible. Switching to a fully converged data center allows them to dedicate their resources to mission-critical and growth-driving tasks.
IT teams can do a whole lot more than optimize costs and resources. They can improve processes, enhance data analytics, and even discover new revenue channels. Without the time and mental space to innovate, IT teams can’t reach their potential.
On-Premise Infrastructure for Cloud Age Businesses
Although more and more businesses are switching to cloud-based solutions, the introduction of things like big data and the Internet of Things into enterprise means on-premise infrastructure is still important.
On-premise infrastructure and the experience it delivers should be built to match that offered by cloud computing. Utilizing data center resources with on-premise infrastructure is entirely possible with the next generation of solutions.
The amount of data enterprises are responsible for is only going to increase. While cloud computing is sure to shoulder a large portion of this growth, on-premise infrastructure will remain relevant.
If a business is to utilize its data center resources, making the switch to a fully converged system is an effective way to reap the benefits of a cloud-like environment and meet regulatory obligations, storage limitations and other requirements.
Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy. Follow him @BrennerMichael.
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