Author: Ron Goh, President, Southeast Asia and Korea, VMware
2017 has seen digital disruption continue to sweep across industries and economies, permanently redefining how business gets done today. Companies born in the digital age have revolutionized the experience for customers. They are creating new services as soon as market demands change. They have shorter innovation cycles that are not hampered by cumbersome traditional systems and processes. And they can scale up quickly, capitalizing on market opportunities to fuel further growth.
Against this backdrop, traditional businesses seem to have seen better days. Yet, it is important to remember that these long-standing large corporations are successful for a reason. They have a solid foundation and deep knowledge of the industries they serve, backed by years of honed expertise and experience. They often have a strong and loyal customer base who have trusted them in delivering best-in-class products and services.
Nevertheless, to maintain their competitive advantage, traditional businesses must reinvent and embrace the new normal for businesses. Legacy systems must be re-envisioned into a modern infrastructure that can support new business demands. Built from software-defined compute, storage and network virtualization, today’s modern infrastructure delivers flexibility, agility, security, cost efficiency and management of applications across private and public clouds.
Take Ambank in Malaysia as an example. Established in 1975, Ambank has grown into a household name in Malaysia and the region, with more than six million individual and corporate customers nationwide. With the financial services industry fast being redefined by digitalization, Ambank reduced its server footprint from six servers to two, changing the way IT supports the business. Today, Ambank can provision new services in under a week, making them more agile and responsive to consumer demands. The change drastically reduced infrastructure costs by 25 times, a bonus for any business in today’s highly competitive landscape.
The Case for Modernizing Legacy Systems
Moving the business at the speed of digital necessitates incorporating cloud technologies in the IT infrastructure. However, for a large corporation, turning to the public cloud may be too risky, considering the vast amounts of data and intelligence as well as legacy core systems nestled deep within the company's operations. In this instance, a hybrid cloud would be the best way forward.
Hybrid cloud allows businesses to keep the core of their operations on premise, yet have the flexibility to extend into the cloud when the need arises. Such a strategy can be supported by a hyper-converged infrastructure stack that allows businesses to build a modern, service-oriented and responsive data center that has the agility to keep pace with changing business demands, without compromising on security or overhauling existing operations extensively.
This was the case for Telkom Indonesia, the country’s largest telecommunications provider, which consolidated all of its IT resources, including its legacy systems, into a virtualized environment that can expand quickly as business needs grow. The new virtualized infrastructure can now provision new services and applications to their 100 million customers in 30 minutes instead of eight hours previously. Telkom Indonesia can also securely and efficiently store and manage seven years’ worth of data, a critical function for ensuring regulatory compliance.
Bringing it all together via automation
Another important aspect of a modern data center is automation. The delivery and ongoing management of modern cloud infrastructure and applications must be automated for IT to become a more agile and strategic partner to business. Automation frees up IT teams to focus on strategic business operations, without worrying about back-end provisioning of infrastructure, applying security policies and upholding compliance requirements. Infrastructure and application resource can be modelled as “blueprints” with embedded automation and policies. This eliminates bottlenecks, allowing production-ready infrastructure and application components to be provisioned faster.
Dhaka Stock Exchange Ltd. (DSE) previously faced challenges in ensuring its 250 physical servers are constantly online and available. The significant effort in maintaining all its systems meant that DSE’s technical team could not provide timely support for its brokers or roll out new applications quickly. DSE decided to modernize its data center to shorten application delivery and automate access to resources to maintain application performance and availability. Today, DSE can also monitor and manage the health of its infrastructure, identify capacity shortfalls and rebalance workloads before demand spikes.
Delivering a great user experience with modern applications
The digital age has ushered in a new breed of customers who want quick solutions to their needs. New cloud-native applications leverage container technologies and architecture with release cycles that are measured in minutes or hours, and not days.
This means that today’s IT teams need the ability to package applications and scale them in real-time, quickly and with security and control already built-in. To run modern applications, the IT infrastructure must also be able to support open APIs, and seamlessly integrate enterprise-grade networking, storage and security across all applications.
Driving the future of business with IT
Businesses large and small, all need an IT infrastructure that can support innovation at the speed of digital. A modern infrastructure that natively integrates compute, storage and network virtualization technologies with automation and management is a strategic advantage.
Traditional MNCs and enterprises need not be wary of disrupters in a digital age. Armed with strong legacy core systems and a modern, agile infrastructure supported by an elastic hybrid cloud environment, they are well-placed to regain their pole position in the market.