Logicalis US: Converged Infrastructure May Spell Job Security for Enterprise CIOs

Solution Provider Offers Five Truths about CI and its Relationship to IT Pros’ Emerging Services-Defined Role

NEW YORK, November 3, 2015 – Using cloud as an IT service delivery model makes perfect sense to many IT organizations – it’s efficient, it scales and it offers a right-now response to business users’ on-demand technology expectations.  But the IT transformation needed to take full advantage of a cloud services model just isn’t the simple journey most organizations would like it to be.  According to Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider (www.us.logicalis.com), there are six steps in the IT transformation journey, with each building upon the last.  As companies move forward from the most basic step, a component-based architecture, they need to extend their use of technology tools to move from a physical to a virtual data center, then unify their compute environment into a single converged infrastructure (CI) where networks, storage and servers can be managed as one.

“When you talk to enterprise CIOs today, you hear the word ‘modernization’ in many of those conversations,” says Chuck Farrow, Vice President, Strategic Partner Alliances, Logicalis US. “‘Modernization’ is all about simplifying both the computing environment and the management of that environment. You want to provide the IT services users need when and how they want to use them. As a result, when people talk about ‘modernizing’ their IT environment, what they’re really talking about is the move from a component-based architecture to a converged infrastructure. CI gives organizations the flexibility and agility to use their compute resources in more efficient and cost-effective ways.  And it offers them the ability to lower their IT management costs and increase the speed with which new software and services are deployed and implemented.”

“Ultimately, these technological changes are setting the stage for enterprise CIOs to offer their line-of-business users better, faster access to technology services,” says Bob Hankins, Vice President, Data Center Solutions, Logicalis US. “CIOs are under attack from every angle today – the C-suite wants more innovative IT solutions that drive productivity and competitive advantage, and line-of-business wants to consume IT services on demand like they do with other services in their outside-of-work lives.  This puts technology experts inside the enterprise in a tough spot, and it’s forcing them to change the way they think about how they deliver IT and what their role is in the organization. It’s the difference between ‘technology-defined’ thinking and ‘service-defined’ thinking; smart CIOs see the writing on the wall, and they know their role is changing from being a technology provider to an internal service provider.  They’re not going to throw out what’s already in their data centers, but they are taking steps to move toward a cloud-friendly environment that will allow them to manage things more easily and deliver IT services more quickly.  The first step in this process is a change to both converged storage – which often is the catalyst that gets things moving – and to an overall converged infrastructure.”

Five Truths about Converged Infrastructure

To balance demands among line-of-business leaders as well as the corporate C-suite, today’s IT professionals have to become internal service providers for cloud-based services. Making the right technology decisions today could quite literally spell job security for savvy CIOs who have the foresight to prepare for these eventualities now.  Implementing a CI is the first step in the evolution toward a service-defined infrastructure, and Logicalis has identified five important truths IT pros need to know to succeed:

  1. You can overcome barriers to CI: A fully functional converged infrastructure that integrates servers, storage, networks and management into a single, flexible and adaptable IT environment is the foundation for all the advantages cloud computing has to offer. So why are IT pros meeting with internal resistance when it comes to implementing a converged strategy? A big barrier to realizing the benefits of a converged infrastructure may be political, not technical.  Before effectively changing the company’s technology, CIOs must change the culture of the typical IT department. A company’s IT  transformation begins when the organization stops thinking in terms of discrete servers and storage for every application and starts thinking about shared interoperable resources across the entire IT infrastructure.
  2. An effective infrastructure can still be inefficient: At the beginning of any company’s IT transformation journey – the component-based architecture stage – the business’ infrastructure may be effective, but it may also be inefficient. IT pros in this scenario are likely facing a range of challenges that include time-consuming manual processes, over- or under-utilized equipment, lack of flexibility to keep up with their organization’s changing needs, and server or storage sprawl.
  3. CI can become a catalyst for change in the data center: Savvy CIOs looking for a solid starting point for CI are taking an application-centric view of their data centers, choosing a specific, mission-critical application and introducing a pre-integrated converged architecture for that workload into their data centers as a foundation to a more expansive IT transformation journey.
  4. Storage is part of an efficient, cloud-ready environment: Rather than buying more storage than is needed “just to be sure” – for unexpected growth or cyclical storage needs – as many IT departments do, CIOs need to carefully select a specific storage solution that meets the company’s current needs, yet leaves future options open.  Converged storage area networks (SANs) for virtual server farms, for example, allow IT pros to assign virtual storage and provide high availability with commands from the hypervisor environment the way they manage virtual servers. It’s important, however, to keep an eye on where storage is headed.  Recent advancements in flash and direct-attached storage may soon provide services that were traditionally only supported through a SAN.
  5. Converged storage is a solid first step:  Enterprise storage is quickly moving from requiring terabytes of space to needing petabytes or even exabytes as more data is created every day. It all has to be stored somewhere.  Clearly, this is an evolving world for IT, and legacy storage systems just aren't cutting it; paying for dependable storage is costing organizations a notable portion of their annual IT budgets and is holding back efforts to extend virtualization and leverage advances in converged infrastructure and cloud computing.  Experts say storage has become so important that choices about storage are replacing servers as a driver of platform choices within IT departments; today’s storage decisions, therefore, will quite literally influence what an organization’s overall converged infrastructure is going to look like tomorrow.

While a converged infrastructure allows CIOs to lower IT management costs and speed implementation and deployment of new services, those benefits may be too nebulous to support a funding request for a complete infrastructure overhaul all at once. A better strategy is to look for building blocks like those above, and introduce them one at a time.

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About Logicalis

Logicalis is an international IT solutions and managed services provider with a breadth of knowledge and expertise in communications and collaboration; data center and cloud services; and managed services.

Logicalis employs over 4,000 people worldwide, including highly trained service specialists who design, deploy and manage complex IT infrastructures to meet the needs of over 6,500 corporate and public sector customers. To achieve this, Logicalis maintains strong partnerships with technology leaders such as Cisco, HP, IBM, EMC, NetApp, Microsoft, VMware and ServiceNow on an international basis. It has specialized solutions for enterprise and medium-sized companies in vertical markets covering financial services, TMT (telecommunications, media and technology), education, healthcare, retail, government, manufacturing and professional services, helping customers benefit from cutting-edge technologies in a cost-effective way.

The Logicalis Group has annualized revenues of over $1.5 billion from operations in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific and is one of the leading IT and communications solution integrators specializing in the areas of advanced technologies and services.

The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg and London AIM Stock Exchanges, with revenues of over $6 billion.

For more information, visit www.us.logicalis.com.

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