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What to look for in next-generation IT infrastructure

As Mark Twain approximately said, “The reports of the demise of on-premises infrastructure are greatly exaggerated.” As we all see from IT budgets, on-premises infrastructure is alive and well in 2020.

In fact, on-premises data centers are still the dominant platform for infrastructure deployments, cited by 45% of IT professionals as their top priority, according to TechTarget’s 2020 IT Priority Study. When you factor in hybrid cloud and on-premises private cloud, the number doubles to 90%.

While infrastructure modernization is the initiative with the most impact on IT spending in 2020―identified by TechTarget as the top priority by 39% of survey respondents―most customers are looking to make their on-premises infrastructure more cloud-like.

The question is not whether to invest in on-premises infrastructure. Rather, it is about how to make the most of your investments.

In other words, how can you modernize infrastructure to meet today’s IT and business demands driven by initiatives such as cloud computing, big data analytics and digital transformation—while also building a flexible and scalable foundation for the future?

Looking at next-generation infrastructure, it starts with these key requirements:

  • Simplicity and cost efficiencies
  • Performance and resilience
  • Flexibility and scalability

Today’s challenge is to achieve all of these goals without tradeoffs. For example, hyperconverged infrastructures can be simple to deploy but might have tradeoffs in creating data silos or complexity in scaling. Similarly, reference architectures and converged infrastructures can be flexible, but they can also be more complex and costly to manage and scale if they don’t employ an architectural model that is designed to meet those challenges.

In 2020, IT teams are hoping for a single solution that can deliver the simplicity and cost efficiencies of hyperconverged infrastructure, the performance and resilience of converged infrastructure, and the flexibility and scalability of reference architectures.

Why these requirements? And are these requirements possible without tradeoffs? Let’s dig deeper.

Simplicity and cost efficiencies
In many ways, you can look at the rise of public cloud as a quest for simplicity and cost efficiencies—or at least as an imperative for IT to be faster, more responsive, more transparent and more service-oriented.

Today’s infrastructures must follow the public cloud model in making IT easy to use and manage, while leveraging on-premises infrastructure to support hybrid cloud with self-service capabilities and the ability to run critical applications that may not (yet) be ready to be cloud-native.

Technology innovation is essential to achieving these goals without tradeoffs. For example, stateless server and storage architectures make it much easier and less costly to scale (“buy as you grow”) when new technology solutions are available. A single management console speeds initial deployments and simplifies ongoing operational management.

Performance and resilience
The demands placed on on-premises infrastructure keep accelerating:

  • Exponentially more data in volume, variety and velocity.
  • Expansion of multicloud environments.
  • The need to support modernization of business-critical apps such as SAP and Oracle, including potential cloud migrations.
  • Requirements to make initiatives like big data analytics more integrated and aligned with overall business objectives.
  • Pressure to achieve zero downtime or disruption, with always-on availability and no gaps in performance, latency, IOPS or anything else that could impact business operations.

All of these pressures require a solution that uses best-of-breed technology and an architectural model built to maximize performance and resilience. The infrastructure must easily meet your most stringent service-level agreements today, with an easy upgrade path. This will help you adapt to changing business needs, multicloud environments, growing data requirements and innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and more.

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Flexibility and scalability
One of the biggest challenges with many on-premises infrastructure models is the need for forklift upgrades every few years. With the accelerated pace of business in the cloud era, this model is no longer acceptable. It creates risk, downtime, unnecessary expenses and a lot of extraneous work for IT departments that are already stretched thin.

IT today can leverage solutions that never require forklift upgrades, so this must be one of the key requirements for infrastructure investment in 2020. In addition, because issues around capacity, performance and agility are constantly changing, it makes sense to choose a solution that offers the simplicity of hyperconverged infrastructure, without the related tight coupling of compute, storage and networking resources.

With a solution that enables IT to scale resources independently, the organization can be more cost efficient in capital expenditures. It can also be flexible in ensuring that IT can deliver the right levels of performance and capacity for each workload. Ongoing management is also easier, particularly with the flexibility of a single integrated management console.

Taking the next step
In evaluating potential infrastructure solutions to maximize simplicity, cost efficiencies, performance, resiliency, scalability and flexibility, IT teams should consider FlashStack from Cisco and Pure Storage as a top priority.

FlashStack is the only solution that delivers the benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure, converged infrastructure and reference architectures in a single integrated design without tradeoffs. 

Please take the time to review the other articles and resources on this site to learn more about how FlashStack can meet your most challenging infrastructure requirements for 2020—and beyond.

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