Just as your business is undergoing transformation to adapt to new economic realities, so too must your IT teams. Traditional infrastructure technology specialists (compute, storage, data protection, networking and others) are becoming harder to find, and organizations are often struggling to keep pace with the rising capacity and complexity of IT and the new skills demanded by digital transformation.
Consider what drives the most business value from your data center operations staff:
Is it building and sustaining infrastructure?
- Racking, stacking and cabling and testing hardware components
- Managing firmware interoperability to make upgrades and patches
- Coordinating multiple vendors on support calls
- Integrating new hardware for capacity expansion
Or is it consuming infrastructure for business outcomes?
- Creating new services for end users
- Building new applications for customer engagement
- Enabling self-service infrastructure consumption
- Executing business processes
The Enterprisers Project, a community of IT leaders, recently concluded that if your senior engineers (earning six-figure salaries) or even junior engineers are working on routine infrastructure maintenance tasks, then you’re spending too much on routine maintenance. It's not just about the cost of building and managing infrastructure; it's also about opportunity cost.
Many organizations are beginning to automate those mundane tasks themselves. Even so, 50% of organizations with mature digital transformation initiatives report a shortage of “modern” IT orchestration and automation skills, according to Enterprise Strategy Group.
A better solution is modernizing with automated infrastructure that 1) frees your existing IT personnel from traditional, labor-intensive operations to focus on consuming infrastructure for innovation, growth and competitiveness, and 2) frees engineers with automation skills to automate the application and business processes that will digitally transform your organization.
Consider turnkey, automated infrastructure
Converged and hyperconverged infrastructure (CI and HCI) is designed and automated to let your human resources simply consume infrastructure for business innovation, eliminating the old-school build-and-sustain infrastructure focus. It is prebuilt, full stack, lifecycle sustained and highly automated.
For example, IDC reports that CI speeds new infrastructure business outcomes to an eight-month payback and a 640% five-year return on investment (ROI). IDC also reports that IT staff using CI systems have 2X more time to spend on innovation and other activities compared with building and sustaining infrastructure.
Besides avoiding the Opex cost associated with build your own infrastructure, converged infrastructure lets IT avoid costly build-your-own-infrastructure automation.
That’s important, because over the next two years, 50% of IT decision-makers will expand their use of third-party data center automation tools, according to recent TechTarget research. Key areas of growth will be infrastructure scaling, data migration and disaster recovery use cases. Built-in infrastructure automation can outright deliver infrastructure as a service and scaling. Code specialists can use this as a foundation to build upon for other use cases.
The new generation of CI and HCI systems are designed with automation for deploying, managing and scaling resources. This lets IT operations and automation specialists shift their focus away from infrastructure to added-value IT service and business application issues.
Automation – Cloud-like operations for data centers
Automated converged and hyperconverged infrastructure systems from Dell Technologies meet evolving business needs by delivering cloud-like services to the business while freeing IT resources from the mundane tasks that bog down productivity.
Automation of lifecycle management results in the utmost simplicity and offers operational freedom from maintaining infrastructure. Intelligent lifecycle management automates non-disruptive upgrades, patches, expansion/retirement while keeping workloads continuously up and running. Users not only realize greater IT team efficiencies, but also have reduced downtime with fewer unplanned outages resulting in a reduction of overall cost of operations.
Highly automated converged and hyperconverged infrastructure systems also enable infrastructure as code. These systems include application interfaces (APIs) that enable you to leverage the full power of automation and orchestration services across your data center. This extensibility enables you to build and operate infrastructure with cloud-like scale and agility and streamlines the integration of the infrastructure into your IT environment and processes. Instead of manually managing your environment through a traditional graphical user interface, repeatable operations can be triggered and executed programmatically by software.
This level of automation is one of the many CI and HCI benefits that enable public cloud-like operations for your data center: simple, declarative, efficient and agile.
Improving IT staff productivity and time savings are the top drivers of converged and hyperconverged infrastructure investments. CI and HCI systems simplify data center management and lower operating expenses (OPEX) by reducing the person-hours required for daily administration, giving organizations valuable time back and freeing staff to work on strategic business initiatives.
Evaluating an automated infrastructure solution
Here are key capabilities to look for in an automated CI and HCI solution:
- Ability to automate the basic infrastructure-as-a-service and lifecycle management tasks, thus automating nearly 100% of typical manual system administration for near-zero-touch infrastructure operations.
- Intelligent automation to ensure that workflows deliver intended outcomes and eliminate risk by adhering to built-in engineering best practices.
- Central management engine for seamless operations at scale natively integrated with VMware vCenter.
- An easy-to-use service-request interface that doesn’t require deep infrastructure expertise.
- Public APIs with cloud-like scale and agility for simplified Infrastructure as Code integration with familiar automation tools, service platforms and applications.
- Support for manual and automated administration that enables you to adopt automation at your own pace.
- Flexible consumption models with metered pricing on premises, to manage troughs and bursts in usage.
- A single system with an all-in-one architecture, including compute, storage, data protection, network and virtualization to drive operational efficiencies.
- Holistic support from a single vendor of all components as a complete system, including the automation controller.
In today’s unpredictable business environment, automation and digital transformation are more important than ever. The benefits of converged and hyperconverged infrastructure have been proven over time, helping organizations modernize critical business apps with reduced risks and measurable results.
As businesses have evolved, so too have the capabilities of converged solutions, particularly in leveraging advanced automation capabilities to ease the burden on IT personnel and resources.