Authored by: Chris Kelly, Vice President, Data Center & Compute, Asia Pacific & Japan, Dell Technologies
The past year has served to accelerate the digital transformation roadmap for the majority of organisations across Asia Pacific, Japan & Greater China. According to the latest Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index III, close to 92% of business leaders across markets in the region recognise the current need for more agile and scalable IT infrastructure to allow for contingencies.
As digital transformation is a continuous and evolving journey, organisations are facing new and evolving challenges that can be categorised primarily into four key areas:
The pervasive nature of data and computing: With data flowing in from multiple and siloed systems, to achieve timely insights and deliver real value, the data processing capability must be extended to the points of need (edge computing).
Rapid changes in technology: “Gartner research shows only 53% of projects make it from artificial intelligence (AI) prototypes to production.” New technologies like AI, ML, and predictive analytics are significantly increasing the demand on computing capabilities. Businesses need to be able to seamlessly incorporate the latest technologies to deliver connected customer experiences.
Disparate processes and technologies: Digital transformation requires a modern, digital backbone that delivers flexible infrastructure to meet the demands of diverse workloads and enables automation to streamline processes for maximum efficiency.
Possibility of threats: As your infrastructure scales, so do threats – from both internal and external players. Organisations need a level of resilience that protects critical systems and information without disrupting their business.
All of these challenges put additional demands on IT infrastructure and resources – whether companies need more raw compute power, improved acceleration capabilities, enhanced security, lower latency or a combination of all these, many organisations are grappling with how to best leverage technology to underpin their digital transformation and unlock their competitive advantage.
Modernising data centres to support robust digital transformation
CIOs are now more aware that managing and interpreting data to provide actionable insights will play a crucial role in driving innovation and differentiate them from their competitors. However, many organisations are being held back by legacy IT infrastructure that is unable to scale sufficiently to meet the demands of their operational ambitions.
Organisations that modernise their data centres will enjoy the many advantages of optimised IT operations including massively scalable applications, agility to support multiple workloads, reduced risk of downtime, enhanced customer experiences, and reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
As CIOs think about modernising their data centres, they should keep in mind three key considerations.
Is it scalable?
Determining the scale and architecture of a data centre is the critical starting point. The facility itself must not only meet current requirements but also provide the flexibility to scale and address future power, cooling, or density requirements. In today’s digital environment, enterprises must also be able to run diverse workloads incorporating the latest technology innovations without overhauling the entire data centre.
Therefore, it is important that the hardware and accompanying solutions selected for the data centre allow for adaptive compute and scalable business architecture. Having access to a portfolio of servers that are optimised for the latest technological advances and integrate easily into server clusters would help enable seamless scaling whilst still performing efficiently.
Are you optimised for automation?
I frequently hear from customers and partners that their IT infrastructure is being pushed to the limits of its capacity and its ability to manage the environment. The increasing complexity of new technologies, the surge in data volumes as well as the constant threat of cyber intrusion is forcing IT staff to spend more time bogged down fixing problems and less time delivering new capabilities or innovation to the business. Autonomous compute allows customers to fully realise self-deployed, self-provisioned, and self-managed infrastructure and represents the means to dramatically increase productivity whilst reducing costs for IT teams. Enterprises should look for the ability to automate the entire server lifecycle from deployment to retirement through embedded intelligence.
Is it secure and resilient?
Digital transformation requires security transformation. Customers’ top concerns on the path to digital transformation are data privacy and cybersecurity. Ensuring the safety of data stored by enterprises has become a boardroom concern. Whilst there is no magic bullet solution that addresses security concerns across all fronts, there is one approach that can help detect and protect platforms against threats and enable rapid recovery in the event of a breach – building a cyber-resilient architecture from the ground up.
To deliver this, hardware and firmware should have integrated security that is built-in, not bolted on, for end-to-end protection. Security should start before deployment then continue through every phase of the product life cycle with systems and software designed for secure interactions and the capability to predict potential threats.
As an example, built with cyber-resilient architecture and a well-established Silicon Root of Trust, the latest PowerEdge portfolio are secure throughout the servers’ lifecycle, from manufacturing, deployment, and beyond.
Ultimately as organisations re-evaluate their IT approach, those that will be most successful will be the ones who have a clear vision to leverage their IT infrastructure as the source of their competitive advantage and embrace the latest technology advances to unlock their full innovation capability.