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Software-Defined Infrastructure

Building a Solid IT Foundation With a Cloud-Enabled Data Center in United States

As business leaders reflect on how their organisations can best realise the full potential of the cloud to optimise, innovate or disrupt business models, they need to challenge existing approaches and realities.

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Industrial giant General Electric was one of the original components of the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 stocks in 1896 and has been on the index for 111 years. Until now, that is. As of June 26, 2018, drugstore chain, Walgreens Boots Alliance will replace GE on the Dow Jones industrial average.

While Dow Jones is no Fortune 500 list where GE continues to be in a strong position, it is a sign that traditional organisations need to change how their approach innovation and customer experience to stay relevant in today’s economy. Many organisations are moving production workloads to the cloud.

Some of the key business drivers that influence an organisation to implement a cloud enabled data center include:

  • Manage Costs:
    Cost is a critical consideration in business decisions, and organisations are challenged to find new ways to do more with less. This situation is essential for IT organisations that need to ensure that their IT investments are real business enablers and not cost drivers.
  • Respond to Changing Business Needs:
    Businesses face increasing pressure to launch new products and services ahead of the competition and to respond to change quickly. IT infrastructure is the foundation of the business and must be agile to respond to changing business needs. For example, with the launch of new products or services, the supporting IT infrastructure must be able to scale-out quickly to meet increased transaction volumes.
  • Increased Dependence on Technology:
    Businesses today rely more on technology to deliver services of value to themselves and their clients. The adoption of technology is growing quickly and giving rise to new business models. For example, with an expanding number of new sensors and devices available, there is a growing need for reliable ways to collect and access information and efficiently process and analyse data. New technologies and services might deliver the capabilities to satisfy these needs.
  • Faster Time to Deployment:
    Compressing the amount of time required in realising a business idea into a service or product is often a critical strategic business objective. Besides, as entry barriers lower in most industries, organisations are under pressure to deliver services faster to stay ahead of the competition. Accelerating time-to-market in a predictable and reliable way is essential for businesses to quickly realise revenues, control market share, enhance brand image, and retain customers. IT plays a vital role by improving availability dates of IT systems that support business needs.

Imagine Your Organisation’s Future in the Cloud

As business leaders reflect on how their organisations can best realise the full potential of the cloud to optimise, innovate or disrupt business models, they need to challenge existing approaches and realities.

The government plays a crucial role in shaping policies that enable cloud technologies to grow and prosper, which is the key to creating future business models and seizing new opportunities. From the Internet of Things to Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing fuels today’s advancements in automation, interconnectivity and interoperability - effectively defining what it means to succeed in the digital age.

In fact, according to the 2018 Cloud Readiness Index (CRI) released by Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA), Singapore's remarkable performance in most segments and parameters allows it to overtake Hong Kong and rank first in this year's CRI. Significant improvements in Data Centre Risk, Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, and Intellectual Property Protection have pushed it up in those parameter rankings. It has also held on to its past rankings in many other parameters, consistently ranking among the top three economies. This demonstrates the power of strong, coordinated infrastructure and the benefits of flexible regulatory frameworks.

Singapore's key weakness can be found in the aggregated Governance segment. A top Business Sophistication scorer, it is brought down by a poor Freedom of Information score. If it wants to continue succeeding, Singapore will have to ensure it balances the need for structured policies with sufficient space for innovation and experimentation.

In fact, according to the 2018 Cloud Readiness Index (CRI) released by Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA), Malaysia retained its 2016 ranking of 8th place. It performed exceptionally well in the Cybersecurity parameter, and made moderate progress in Government Regulatory Environment. The latter may soon become more prominent as Malaysia's proposed Cloud First' strategy takes shape; driven by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the policy is set to stimulate cloud adoption in both public and private sectors.

For now, however, Malaysia has declined or stagnated in most other parameters. It has lost five spots in Business Sophistication, suggesting that it could be doing more to facilitate business operations. It has also experienced lower scores in the aggregated Cloud Infrastructure and Governance segments, two fundamental drivers of cloud readiness.

In fact, according to the 2018 Cloud Readiness Index (CRI) released by Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA), Indonesia has seen some improvements since CRI 2016, but it has not budged from its 11th position. Progress has been more visible in the Cloud Infrastructure segment mostly thanks to improvements in the Broadband Quality parameter. Cloud Regulation and Governance are Indonesia's strong points; the government has indeed taken the issue of citizen data privacy seriously, and enforced multiple provisions defining what firms may do with a citizen's data.

Indonesia's rankings may change in the near future as a direct result of these policies, but at the moment all parameters have either dropped or held constant. Data Centre Risk remains unchanging at 11th, while Government Regulatory Environment and Cybersecurity both worsened to 13th. Business Sophistication and Freedom of Information have also fallen in response to new regulations.

Advantages of a Cloud Enabled Data Center Model

Irrespective of whether your organisation decides to use a public, private or a hybrid cloud approach, a cloud-enabled data center simplifies IT and delivers apps and data to users on virtually any device, anywhere. Here are some of the benefits of moving to the cloud:

  • Shift Focus Quickly:
    With the quick availability of IT resources (such as servers and storage), the Cloud Enabled Data Center model allows an organisation to focus on the core business and providing value to their clients.
  • Lower Cost of Deployment:
    IT resources are available faster, repeatedly, and accurately by using high levels of automation. For instance, IT does not have to incur the cost of configuring a server every time it needs one.
  • Provide Faster Deployment and Retirement of Systems:
    With standardised services offered through the service catalogue, IT can quickly provision systems. In certain cases (such as development and test workloads), users can provision the servers and manage them through a web-based portal. The capability to automate the de-provisioning of the resources (after a period of use) is essential. This approach ensures that resources that are not required are returned to the pool of available resources and are reused for other purposes.
  • Establish a Utility Service:
    A Cloud Enabled Data Center provides a pay-as-you-use model, which can be used to measure and charge individual LOBs for their IT usage.
  • Create Predictable Deployment:
    A Cloud Enabled Data Center promotes standardisation of components, which are made available through the service catalogue and the description of the service itself. This approach ensures a predictable outcome every time a service is requested.
  • Support Dynamic Scaling:
    A scale-up and scale-down infrastructure is required to support a business service. When a business experiences periods of high demand, a new IT infrastructure can be provisioned to meet temporary increases in workloads. The provisioned IT infrastructure can be de-provisioned when no longer required. This approach adds immense flexibility to the IT environment and ensures optimal utilisation of resources.
  • More Control and Visibility:
    Every task performed by the cloud enabled data center solution is monitored and reported so that organisations have greater visibility to the use of IT resources.

Choosing the Right Cloud Architecture

The big question that most IT decision makers face is not will you or won’t you use the cloud, it is what will you use the cloud for and what is the right path to the cloud.

Public cloud technologies are being adopted quickly to help businesses become more agile and flexible. However, many of the current workloads being run within data centers cannot be deployed off-premises, as public cloud demands, because of the need for control, performance, security, or user experience. Private cloud services are a way for businesses to bring the benefits of public cloud to a local deployment. However, private cloud deployments can be more complex, and the IT staff may not have the required skills to maintain a cloud in their datacenter.

Lenovo and Microsoft helps address this predicament by creating a private cloud where on- premises services look and act just like the public cloud. Lenovo has developed the Lenovo ThinkAgile SX for Microsoft Azure Stack as a completely integrated turnkey solution that brings the power of the Azure cloud directly into the datacenter. This solution combines the flexibility and agility of the public cloud with the control and security of a private solution.

On the other hand, the Lenovo cloud validated design for Red Hat OpenStack platform and SUSE OpenStack Cloud enables you to set up and roll out your virtualized infrastructure with optimised configurations for hardware, software and cloud deployment. The primary benefit from deploying this architecture in an OpenStack environment is the ability to turn up new services faster and with less effort. The solution provides support for multiple hypervisors to accommodate heterogeneous environments or advantageous licensing arrangements.

Last but not the least, the Lenovo validated designs for VMware enables customers to transform their internal IT into an agile and resilient cloud, delivering the features of public cloud within the walls of the enterprise. This architecture features virtualized server and networking along with attached storage elements enabling businesses running VMware to eliminate legacy and proprietary network hardware-based infrastructure management appliances.

Are you working through private, public or hybrid cloud challenges? Can you benefit from unified service management and automation across all of your workload environments? Contact Lenovo Enterprise Services to see how we can help transform your data center into an engine for business growth.

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