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Top 5 Trends in Data Center Infrastructure

Posted by James Russell, III on Jul 10, 2017 10:00:00 AM
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With so much talk about disruption in the IT industry, let’s discuss the top data center trends that you may want to consider to solve your customers’ business challenges.
 
From server closets to large hyperscale deployments, data centers are at the crux of delivering IT services and providing storage, communications, and networking to the growing number of networked devices, users, and business processes. Here’s why data centers are causing so much disruption in the marketplace:
  • The growing importance of data analytics: The result of big data coming from ubiquitously networked end-user devices and Internet of Everything (IoE) has added to the value and growth of data centers.

  • Data centers touch nearly every aspect of an enterprise: Whether it’s internal, employee-related data, communication or processes, or partner- and customer-facing information and services.

  • The expansion of data center technology: The efficient and effective use of data center technology, such as virtualization, new software-based hyperconverged architectures, and management tools and use of public vs. private resources can all add to the agility, success, and competitive differentiation of a business.1
All this disruption news makes it difficult to know where to focus in order to grow your business profitably. To help you make some of those important business decisions, here are the top five data center trends for 2017 through 2018:

1. Data Center Automation

The ability to monitor, manage, and distribute workloads dynamically, or to rapidly provision LAN and WAN services through an API, opens up a range of possibilities. Machine learning allows IT to define detailed policies for a corporate network and have a software platform that executes and even maintains that desired state. Tech Data has many vendors that offer software/hardware that supports infrastructure automation, enterprise, and hybrid cloud or application automation. 

2. Cloud Migration

A cloud data migration has a laundry list of positive benefits. It can be an opportunity to clear out capital expenses in favor of operational expenses and to free up your tech team to work on other projects. It can give you better performance and tighter security and allows you to phase out your legacy systems. Knowing which statistics are most important to your business will help you structure a migration plan that prioritizes those outcomes.2 To learn more about the benefits and use cases, view our Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud: 5 Reasons Why Hybrid Cloud Is the Best Choice blog on techdata.com.
 
Here’s a comparison of the three types of clouds:
  • Private Cloud: The infrastructure and network are dedicated to a single client or company. In a private cloud scenario, there’s significant demand on resources to specify, purchase, house, update, maintain, and protect the physical infrastructure.

  • Public Cloud: The vendor owns the infrastructure and permits access to its resources to multiple customers across the network. This type of cloud environment is cost effective and provides high scalability. Additionally, customers only have to pay based on usage. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud offering.

  • Hybrid Cloud: This model includes a mix of public and private options combined to work together seamlessly as one platform. Hybrid cloud is a holistic approach to the consumption of IT.

3. X-as-a-Service (XaaS) Anything as a Service

With the new generation of business models focusing more on recurring revenue, particularly subscription-based cloud offers, many technology suppliers are finding themselves needing to change certain aspects of their businesses and how they function.3
 
When you buy a XaaS product from a provider, you’re purchasing a single product, for guaranteed performance, at one price. You have one bill to pay, and you often purchase XaaS on a subscription basis – sometimes with no capital investment.4 Such cloud services packages are intended to fully displace the delivery of a commodity IT service. According to Gartner, application leaders responsible for architecture and infrastructure should understand cloud platform market trends to exploit them for competitive advantage.5
 
Here are some of the most common XaaS offerings you might want to consider:
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): A standardized, highly automated offering, where compute resources, complemented by storage and networking capabilities are owned and hosted by a service provider and offered to customers on-demand. Customers are able to self-provision this infrastructure, using a web-based graphical user interface that serves as an IT operations management console for the overall environment.6

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Gives users access to applications hosted by a vendor via an internet connection. Often used as an alternative to local hosting.

  • Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS): Allows you to enjoy the many benefits of desktop virtualization without having to acquire, build, and manage your own infrastructure. It also adds the benefits of simplified desktop operations, improved security, and better cost management.

  • Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS): IT departments can leverage the benefits that hybrid cloud architecture offers while providing fully-integrated, fast, and secure cloud-based DR through a service provider.

  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Cloud computing self-provisioning is the core reason that developers choose to leverage PaaS. This service offers an entire platform on which software can be developed and deployed like Google App Engine and Heroku.

4. Hyperconvergence and Convergence

The market for hyperconverged systems will be worth $13.9 billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research6 With hyperconverged systems, one vendor supplies all the components (computing, virtualization, network, and storage) and combines them into a single hardware solution. This is centrally managed from a single pane of glass (unified management). The storage array is located inside the server, which allows customers to allocate and share storage assets across all workloads. To learn more about the benefits and use cases, view our blog Convergence vs. Hyperconvergence: How to Select the Right Infrastructure for Your Customers on techdata.com.

5. Disaster Recovery

With the constant growth of the digital age, security and cyber security remain of utmost importance for organizations looking to secure their networks. If we take a “not if, but when” approach to cyber security, we must take a strong look at disaster recovery methods to retrieve our data in the event of a breach.
 
Disaster recovery can be defined in two ways:
 
1. The use of alternative network circuits to re-establish communications channels in the event the primary channels are disconnected or malfunctioning.
 
2. The methods and procedures for returning a data center to full operation after a catastrophic interruption (e.g., including recovery of lost data).
Keep in mind that Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a viable option as part of your disaster recovery plans because it keeps data in a central location instead of spread out across several desktops and servers.

Next Steps

Partner with Tech Data to start thinking about how your company can change/adapt to offer solutions for your customers around these top trends in data center infrastructure. For more information, contact James Russell III at james.russelliii@techdata.com.
 
About the Author
James Russell III, Cisco Data Center Solutions Consultant, has over 25 years of computer industry experience. He offers technological expertise in designs of cloud-ready architectures and multi-tiered high availability enterprise solutions for multiple vendors including Cisco. James is responsible for consulting on storage, server, and virtualization solutions to meet customers’ needs and requirements.
 
Sources:
1 Cisco, Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020; 
5 Gartner, IT Glossary

Tags: Data Center, hyperconverged infrastructure, trends, Converged Infrastructure

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