Reducing IT Complexity with Cloud Options
Blog Article Published: 09/28/2023
Originally published by Sangfor.
Written by Nicholas Tay Chee Seng, CTO, Sangfor Cloud.
Today’s business landscape is constantly changing in response to digital transformation. Against this backdrop, efficient and cost-effective IT infrastructure, namely cloud computing, is critical to giving organizations a competitive edge. Cloud computing allows businesses to scale up and out fast to keep pace with ongoing market disruptions. However, no single cloud can meet all needs; IT infrastructures must also adapt to fast-evolving business requirements. Therefore, there is a need to deploy different cloud models, such as private and public clouds. The dilemma is that, by adopting varied infrastructure and technologies, organizations have to face increasingly complex IT environments. In this article, we will discuss cloud options that enable you to enjoy the benefits of various cloud models without complicating your IT landscape.
The IT Landscape Today
As digitalization has rapidly accelerated the transformation of industries over the past decade, business leaders now expect more from their IT departments. They are demanding better and faster service and higher operational and cost efficiency. In addition, several major industry trends have significantly influenced the direction of information technology, including:
- The growth of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend
- The rise of Software-Defined Infrastructure (SDI) and server virtualization
- Widespread adoption of cloud computing as a major business enabler
- Increased use of all-flash storage in specific enterprise applications
Challenges of Legacy IT
Organizations still operating with traditional legacy data center setups will struggle to adapt quickly to new market changes due to constraints imposed by their infrastructure. This struggle often arises from the complex composition of multiple platforms and software components, each with separate management consoles and policy engines. These issues give rise to the following challenges:
- Difficulty in scaling out and scaling up dynamically, easily, and linearly to meet increasing user demands.
- Greater management complexity due to operations, policies, and processes tied to IT platforms for various workloads.
- Frequent and costly refresh cycles — as soon as one component is updated or upgraded, it’s time to update/upgrade the next.
- A constant need to up-skill talent to keep pace with newer technologies running on different cloud platforms (multi-cloud).
Cloud Options to Reduce IT Complexity
These challenges have two main areas that need to be addressed: increasing efficiency by "doing more with less" and decreasing costs relating to operating, maintaining, and elevating IT capabilities. Several options have gained popularity rapidly, and we shall discuss two widely accepted models by many organizations globally.
a) Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)
HCI is a data center architecture that embraces cloud principles, economics, and a software-first architecture. It consolidates compute, storage, networking, and management using virtualization on commodity x86 servers. This simplifies operations, increases efficiency and scalability, and improves agility while reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO). Typically managed through a single user interface, HCI enables resources to be provisioned and executed at the virtual machine (VM) or container level through a shared resource pool. This allows high availability and workload mobility, facilitating efficient performance and capacity scaling.
HCI also helps organizations consolidate servers on a common platform at the hypervisor layer. This greatly reduces the number of physical servers in a data center, thus lowering power and cooling consumption and minimizing the carbon footprint. HCI also lessens the need to create a new physical hardware environment for each deployment, significantly reducing operational bottlenecks and enabling businesses to move forward faster. In summary, it has proven to effectively address the challenges of legacy IT infrastructures by reducing and eliminating IT complexity.
b) Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud integrates public and private clouds into a unified environment. This setup provides centralized control, operations, and management of cloud resources. It allows organizations with mixed applications, data, and operating systems to extend their on-premises IT infrastructure to the public cloud while retaining control. Businesses can deploy workloads in private and public clouds, transferring data between them as requirements and costs change. Legacy applications can operate in on-premises data centers, while cloud-ready applications can run on the public cloud. Developing, testing, and adopting new technologies is more efficient and effective, enabling businesses to evolve quickly and stay relevant.
Globally, the IT infrastructure landscape is undergoing unprecedented transformation due to digitalization. Organizations must constantly find ways to do more with less by increasing efficiencies and reducing IT complexity. Many face challenges modernizing their legacy IT infrastructure, but an HCI-based hybrid cloud offers a way out. This setup provides the flexibility and economics of the cloud without sacrificing performance, availability, and reliability. This approach allows businesses to scale quickly and cost-effectively without the need to keep adding hardware, thus reducing IT complexity. By creating a unified resource pool for various applications, these solutions facilitate on-demand capacity expansion and centralized management. This results in lower operating expenses and quicker time to market, effectively addressing the challenges posed by legacy IT systems.
About the Author
Nicholas has an extensive career spanning over 20 years, during which he has played a major role in the ideation, formulation, and co-creation of new cloud solutions for both enterprise and government sectors. His expertise spans across multiple domains including Cloud, Data Centre, Network & Connectivity, which he blends to support organizational Digital Transformation & Modernization and Industry 4.0, including 5G. His proficiency is backed by various sales and pre-sales certifications from key global technology firms such as Sangfor, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Dell EMC, Google, IBM, NetApp, Oracle, Red Hat, and VMware, enabling him to adopt the latest global technology trends, especially in the cloud domains.
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