By Jason Cowie, Global Strategic Alliances
Our team has spent a good amount of time in the last couple months on the conference circuit. Whether it was EMC World, HP Discover, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) or IBM Edge, there were a number of important trends that we and the other attendees discussed. Much of the conversation was related to consolidation of infrastructure, improving the speed and delivery of IT, and the need to do it in a cost-optimized fashion. A number of these points warrant discussion, but here are three that are among the most critical:
Converged, hyperconverged infrastructures to maximize resources
With the goals of consolidating resources and simplifying IT management, converged and hyperconverged infrastructures have emerged as preferred software-centric architectures that tightly integrate compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources. There are plenty of benefits that come with these approaches, including increased agility by simplifying configuration and deployment, and reducing management and infrastructure costs through standardization. SMBs and mid-size businesses in particular can benefit from the simplicity of hyperconverged offerings, while larger enterprises are often better suited to converged architectures deployed across their storage area networks (SANs). IT execs need to be sure they’re taking performance into account; if each component of the converged stack isn’t functioning efficiently, a domino effect can follow.
Healthcare IT demanding optimum performance
The shift in healthcare toward requisite electronic medical records (EMR) has given organizations a strong mandate to make IT central to all operations. Healthcare providers are quickly realizing they need access to high-performance computing to take advantage of technology advances, such as EMRs, but they are not willing to jeopardize quality of care that too frequently can be plagued by infrastructure complexity. The rapidly evolving and expanding infrastructures at hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers need to perform optimally and consistently. This level of performance is truly non-negotiable. Uptime is especially crucial, with any unavailability preventing doctors and others from accessing the information they need. Solutions that enable healthcare providers to eliminate infrastructure outages and guarantee IT availability are intriguing options for IT decision-makers across the industry.
Big data, need for real-time analytics
This is an ongoing problem for all industries, in IT departments and beyond. It’s IT, though, that draws the unenviable task of managing that information and ensuring it’s available as needed. None of this is news to anyone involved in enterprise IT. However, big data itself is evolving, with companies looking for new ways to collect, store and analyze that information efficiently. For IT, they must ensure that the underlying infrastructure is available and performing within service-level objectives (SLOs) to make archival, retrieval and analysis of vast amounts of big data obtainable. As assorted forms of big data develop, there will be ever-increasing demands placed on storage and infrastructures used to fulfill those requests.
IT is an evolving concept, and there are countless trends and developments likely to influence it. Equipping teams to deal with the challenges they face is no longer just a matter of building the biggest, most powerful infrastructure. It’s now a matter of understanding what your applications, infrastructure and business truly require to meet end-user demands to access more information in a highly scalable and timely way.
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